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Intel and NEC to deploy facial recognition at 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Chipmaker Intel and Japanese electronics giant NEC are working to introduce a facial recognition system for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, reports CNET. Athletes, sponsors, media, and volunteers will be using the system to cross security checkpoints and between venues. The “large-scale facial recognition system” is designed to “smoothly secure verification for the over 300,000 people at the games who are accredited”, according to the report. Those using it will register with photos from government-issued IDs.

Accredited personnel at the Olympics will still have to wear traditional IDs, but the facial recognition system will be required. If somebody loses their physical ID or tries to get access with one that’s stolen, the facial recognition system will block them. The system will essentially confirm the identity of the person seeking access against their physical IDs.

NEC’s system is built on an AI engine ‘NeoFace’, which is part of their Bio-IDiom line of biometric authentication technology. The NeoFace suite has multiple facial recognition products for video surveillance, for forensic application, a ‘Smart ID’ for field operations collects and identifies biometrics, face, voice, demographics, and other data. Here’s a screenshot from their NeoFace page:

According to The Verge, Tokyo Olympics won’t have a single Olympic park where people can freely move between events and venues, but events will be spread out across the city, and people would need to authenticate themselves at each venue.

It’s unclear for now where the data collected by Intel and NEC’s systems will be stored, how long it will be retained for, and how they will deal with data protection and privacy concerns around facial recognition.

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