Football fans in one
German state may have to pass through "face scanners" at
stadiums, according to interior ministry proposals designed to
The proposals, which entail comparing visitors' biometric
data to a database of known football rioters, have been
denounced as Orwellian by one national fan association.
But the interior minister of the former east German state of
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Lorenz Caffier, said current measures to
prevent hooligans from slipping past security in stadiums, such
as match bans, were not working.
"Along with the help of personalised entrance tickets and
face scanners, notorious rioters can be effectively kept out of
the stadiums," said Caffier in a statement.
"We have to go beyond the current discussions," he said.
A study has been commissioned to determine the practical and
legal feasibility of using the technology in stadiums, after
which a pilot run of the scanners will be carried out.
In a country that has had a difficult relationship with
surveillance in the past, any form of monitoring the population
is met with suspicion.
"This idea is a disgrace to democracy and is reminiscent of
Orwell's 1984," said Philipp Markhardt, spokesman for the
national Pro-Fans association.
"The attempt to combat a problem with surveillance rather
than attacking the root of the issue is out of touch with
reality and, above all, is a drastic invasion of the civil
liberties of individual fans," he said.
Facial recognition technology has already been tried out in
countries, such as Poland and Brazil, to try to eradicate a
violent minority of fans from gaining entrance to matches.
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