Facial recognition as a point of national pride

One of the surprising side-shows at many recent high-profile international events is what might be described as ‘facial recognition nationalism’ – where host countries are keen to be show off their thriving local facial recognition industry.

The French firm Id3’s recent involvement in the development of FRT for the Paris 2024 Olympics illustrates the significance of these global events in promoting local capabilities in facial recognition as a totem of a country’s scientific prowess and innovation. 

Development of the Paris 2024 systems is being led by French National Research Agency, which in turn has selected a range of French firms to pilot the technology at preceding events in France such as the 2023 Rugby World Cup. 

Previously, responsibility for FRT at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics was given to Japanese firm NEC, which had earlier tested the technology when the Japan hosted the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Similarly, facial recognition for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia was overseen by the Moscow-based NtechLab – developers of the ‘FindFace’ system. 

Regardless of what happens in the actual sporting contests, the ability to showcase a locally-developed facial recognition system seems to be a significant part of what makes for a successful host country!

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