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Olympic biometricsU.K. officials collecting biometric data for all Olympic athletes

Published 14 February 2012

As athletes train for this summer’s Olympic Games, having their fingerprints and face-scans taken by U.K. officials will be part of their regiment

As athletes train for this summer’s Olympic Games, having their fingerprints and face-scans taken by U.K. officials will be part of their regiment.

According to The Independent, in an effort to prevent terrorists or illegal immigrants from sneaking into the country, U.K. officials are collectingbiometric data from the more than 10,000 Olympic athletes and their coaches. Over the next several weeks U.K. Border Agency staff deployed overseas, will collect as much biometric information as they can, travelling to major international sporting events.

A total of 20,000 accredited athletes, coaches, media personnel, and family members is expected to attend the games, but roughly half of these individuals already have their biometric information stored on their passports, so do not need to have their finger and face prints collected.

Officials are going through such lengths as those with accredited passes may enter the Olympic Villages and venues without tough security checks, so security officials are doing their due diligence ahead of the event as a precautionary measure.

Collecting biometrics in advance of travel will increase security as GFM [games family members] biometrics will be prechecked before arrival in the U.K.” said a spokesman for the Home Office.

International athletes do not have to have their ten fingerprints and face print taken in their own countries, but they will have to provide their biometrics upon arrival in the United Kingdom.

To help minimize any delays, a temporary terminal at Heathrow airport is being built to accommodate the 20,000 accredited visitors as well as the millions of other attendees.

Biometric data is required of all foreign nationals, even if they qualify for visa waivers.