NHL Teams Exploring Facial Recognition Software In Arenas For Heightened Security
The NHL and some of its 31 teams are "fielding pitches from companies offering to install high-definition cameras and facial recognition software in league arenas," according to Rick Westhead of TSN.ca. A senior exec with one NHL club said that he "expects facial-recognition technology will be adopted by his team and others in the league within the next two years." Westhead noted the technology has "improved as professional sports leagues come to terms with being terrorist targets." That prospect has left the NHL in recent weeks "discussing a league-wide security review that would potentially help to limit the league's financial exposure if terrorists targeted an NHL game." California-based FaceFirst CEO Peter Trepp, whose firm sells facial-recognition technology, "confirmed he has met with the NHL in recent months." Trepp said, "They're looking to keep out the really bad guys and the technology has improved dramatically in the past few years. We can identify someone literally as they walk through the door." Trepp "declined to say when he met with the NHL or whether any teams are already using his company's technology." But he said that his company has targeted clients in the sports sector "only in the last six months." Florida-based technology company Colosseo USA VP Matt Bocko said that the company has "also met with the NHL" and the Capitals to "discuss its products." Trepp said that FaceFirst is "creating its own 'watch list,' using data obtained from a number of local U.S. and European police forces and agencies such as Interpol." Meanwhile, a source said that NHL execs, including Commissioner Gary Bettman, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and Exec VP/Security Dennis Cunningham met Sept. 13 with N.Y.-based security firm Prevent Advisors to "discuss a possible review of NHL rinks" (TSN.ca, 10/17).