• A facial recognition system will be used across an Olympics for the first time as Tokyo organisers work to keep security tight and efficient at dozens of venues during the 2020 Games.
The NeoFace technology developed by NEC Corp. will be customised to monitor every accredited person — including athletes, officials, staff and media — at more than 40 venues, games villages and media centres, Olympic and company officials said yesterday.
Local organisers said Tokyo will be the first Olympic host to introduce the face recognition technology at all venues. The system is expected to effectively eliminate entry with forged IDs, reduce congestion at accredited waiting lines and reduce athletes’ stress under hot weather.
Tsuyoshi Iwashita, Tokyo 2020 executive director of security, said venues that are spread within and outside of the capital would be a big burden in achieving high levels of security.
“By introducing the face recognition system, we hope to achieve high levels of safety, efficiency and smooth operation at security check points before entry,” he said, adding that the system would contribute to less stressful environment for athletes.
Iwashita said a test last year showed gate checks using the facial recognition was more than twice the pace of the conventional system using X-ray with visual siting by security guards.
The facial images of every accredited person for the Olympics and Paralympics will be collected after the approval process and stored in a database to be used to verify identities at accreditation check points.
NEC says its biometric identification technology is used at airports and elsewhere in 70 countries, including Japan.
• Military troops and other defense personnel at sensitive bases or certain high-risk warzone areas won’t be allowed to use fitness-tracker or cellphone applications that can reveal their location, according to a new Pentagon order.
The memo, obtained by The Associated Press, stops short of banning the fitness trackers or other electronic devices, which are often linked to cellphone applications or smart watches and can provide the users’ GPS and exercise details to social media. It says the applications on personal or government-issued devices present a “significant risk” to military personnel, so those capabilities must be turned off in certain operational areas.
Under the new order, military leaders will be able to determine whether troops under their command can use the GPS function on their devices, based on the security threat in that area or on that base.