We reported back in January of this year that facial recognition software was on the horizon for identifying athletes, journalists and officials now the implementation will indeed become a reality. The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games announced today that a face recognition system will be used to verify the identity of athletes, officials, other staff members and media representatives, marking the first time such technology will be used at a Games.
As expected, NEC Corporation, a Tokyo 2020 Gold Partner, is the company behind the facial recognition system, with facial images of every accredited individual being collected before the events and stored in a database. These images will be referenced for verification at the accreditation check points at the competitions.
The version of facial recognition software set to be used by organizers, per The Japan Times, is known to be ‘one of the world’s most accurate systems, capable of recognizing those who have undergone cosmetic surgery, as well as distinguishing between identical twins.’ Per organizers, this will ‘drastically incrase security levels’ at the Games, ‘precluding spoofing, forgery and the use of lost or stolen accreditation.
Tokyo 2020 Executive Director of Security Tsuyoshi Iwashita commented, “The key to Games security is to prevent unauthorised people or items from entering venues. Tokyo 2020 will utilise an automated face recognition system for accredited people, a first for an Olympic or Paralympic Games, to prevent unauthorised access. This latest technology will enable strict identification of accredited people compared with relying solely on the eyes of security staff, and also enables swift entry to venues which will be necessary in the intense heat of summer. I hope this will ensure a safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic Games and help athletes perform at their best.”
NEC Corporation Senior Vice President Masaaki Suganuma added, “With our extensive experience and knowledge of biometric identification technologies, NEC is well placed to help ensure the Tokyo 2020 Games can be operated smoothly, safely and securely. NEC is a global leader in such technologies, including identification using facial images, iris scans, fingerprints, palm prints, finger vein, voice and ear acoustics, and has supplied more than 700 systems in over 70 countries and regions.”