German athletes in Turin were protected by biometrics

Published 28 February 2006

Germany had two distinctions in the just-concluded Winter Olympic Games: Its athletes won the most medals, and the German Olympic authorities hired Berlin-based Bundesdruckerei to provide security for the German athletes, coaches, and staff. The company used biometric finger scanner — the L Scan 100 from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida-based Cross Match Technologies Inc. — to limit access at the Deutsches Haus. The facility, used by the National Olympic Committee for Germany, served as the central meeting point for Germany’s athletes, officials, commercial partners, and media representatives during the Olympic Games.

To gain access to the German House, a visitor had to prove his or her identity by showing an official travel document such as a passport or a German ID card. Then a photograph of the visitor was taken, and the photo and the personal data were printed on a plastic card from Bundesdruckerei. A visitor’s fingerprints were also taken and stored in a database for the duration of the Winter Games. The use of the biometric features of the accredited person significantly increased security at the German House. A similar biometric access system was used at the 2004 Olympic Summer Games in Athens.

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