If you’re an athlete, sponsor, journalist or volunteer at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, you’ll be using a facial recognition system from Japanese electronics giant NEC and chipmaker Intel to get where you need to be. Intel is collaborating with NEC to provide “a large-scale face recognition system for the Olympics,” said Ricardo Echevarria, general manager of Intel’s Olympics program. The system is designed to let Olympics organizers “ensure smoothly secure verification for the over 300,000 people at the games who are accredited,” he said. People using it will register with photos from government-issued IDs, he added. Facial recognition has grown by leaps and bounds with the arrival of the sophisticated pattern-matching abilities of modern artificial intelligence technology called neural networks. But many are alarmed about pervasive computer surveillance, leading cities like Somerville, Massachusetts, and San Francisco and Oakland, California, to bar police from using the technology. Intel didn’t comment on the privacy or data retention aspects of the technology, and NEC said that’s the purview of the Tokyo Olympics organizers. Those organizers didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. NEC will deploy hundreds of facial recognition systems around the Olympics facilities, a move that should speed up ID checks for accredited people, Echevarria said. It’s the first time the Olympics have used that facial recognition technology. It won’t be a wholesale replacement for the old ways: Accredited personnel at the Olympics will still have to wear traditional ID lanyards, Intel and NEC said. But the facial recognition system… [Read full story]
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