back to article Olympic builders hit with biometrics - local residents next?

Confusion reigns over at the Olympic village, as security measures more appropriate to a top security prison than a construction site are put in place to "facilitate" efficient working in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics. Meanwhile, an official statement by the Olympic Development Authority hints alarmingly at the need for …


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  1. Wayland Sothcott 1

    I for one...

    welcome our new health and safety olympic overlords...

    Health and Safety googles needed.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Real security?

    Handscanners aren't really the best method of identification with people who regularly do hard work with their hands. Their hands will be calloused, have scratches, finger tips likely to be worn down in place so making identification pretty hard. And can they guarantee a consistent environment in which to take iris scans since it's an outdoor site. And having ID cards still doesn't stop a worker from making a mistake and that causes a failure in a structure leading to possible loss of life.

  3. Pete 2 Silver badge

    other olympic venues too?

    The sneaky thing about terrorists (if they are even interested in the olympics) is that they don't do what you expect them to, or what you've prepared against. So once they've perpetrated one outrage - and made ordinary people's lives just that little bit more difficult and inconvenient, they don't do the same thing again. Instead they recognise that a particular avenue of badness has been closed and go on to do something far more unexpected.

    So it is with the olympics. From the little I've heard, and the less I've been interested in it, it appears that there are lots of other venues where events will be held; and broadcast worldwide. All of these have the same potential to embarrass the govt. but without having to go head-to-head with the security pantomime at the main venue. It would therefore seem logical that the same level of security should be put in place at all the venues (though I would suppose the one that hosts the shooting events could look after itself).

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: I for one...

    Please provide 3 forms of photo ID to confirm that those googelr do indeed belong to you.

  5. Al fazed Bronze badge

    What a load of *

    Surely it would be cheaper to move all the local residents out of the affected area and then build new luxury houses for sale to the visitors, who would have been vetted already at UK entry points.

    This should radically cut the cost of Biometricising the locals on a regular basis and rake in a few extra bob to cover the cost of the champagne used to celebrate such a coup for the developers and their mates.

    Psst wanna buy a ticket ?

  6. Oliver Mayes
    Big Brother

    They public might be more forgiving...

    ...if they didn't spend so much time coming up with ridiculous and meaningless drivel disguised as an explanation.

    "The health and safety of the workforce and people living around the park is our number one priority which is underpinned by robust and proportionate security measures we have put in place."

    To me, that just sounds like a default press release written by a marketing department where they just fill in the blanks to apply it to whatever project is in question. What has any of this got to do with 'Health and Safety'?

    The phrase 'Doubleplusgood Duckspeak Comrade' springs inexorably to mind.

  7. Sooty

    great security


    smart card, used in conjunction with the hand scanners: the iris-checking system will be available as back-up where there is any doubt as to the identity of the would-be construction worker.


    So, if the easily forged fingerprint check fails(see mythbusters for how easy fingerprint scanners are to fool), only then do they use the slightly more secure iris system. Although, not to try and stereotype too much, I'm sure builders, in general, are an extremely trustworthy bunch who wouldn't dream of doing anything extra for a bit of 'cash in hand'. So proving that the person walking in is actually who you hired may not be that useful.

  8. Number6

    ID cards for all

    Here we have the perfect way to force us all to give up ID information. Just have Labour conferences all over the country, where the locals are obliged to provide suitable ID in order to get to/from their houses near the conference site.

    Fortunately they'll be out of office before they can manage that many conferences (or I'll be out of the country shortly after if they get back in).

  9. Dave Bell

    Building on the past

    The building industry has long been targeted for special measures, ID-related, which have been targeted at tax evasion. Workers paid cash, and never declaring it to the taxman. Sometimes, out here in rural England where a farmer might have an old JCB to maintain ditches, doing an odd job for the local builder became a real pain in the neck.

    At least they didn't try to blame Health and Safety.

    These days, if you don't have a current safety certificate, proving you're qualified and trained to work safely, corporate employers in these parts don't want to know. I wonder how those illegal immigrants managed to get a job on-site?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Wouldn't it be cheaper just to move it all to France ?

  11. Anonymous Coward

    we got shafted

    with the olympics - worst economic crisis for 70 years and we get stuck with paying a fortune for them. Bet France is laughing now, voted for the wrong place - REALLY...

    we should stop all work, and save the money.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The government must be running out of things to try and frighten the population and so control them.

    This, like everything else this government thinks up on 'terror' is nothing but bulls**t.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    25 years ago this week

    Interesting the juxtaposition of increased security against the implied threat from a now defunct terrorist group. Just in case you forgot.

    These checks are to protect you and your loved ones,

    rather than we have spend all this money on all this equipment so we have to use it for something.

    icon: suck on this terrorist scum: Does this make me a terrorist?

  14. GettinSadda

    How exactly is this supposed to work?

    Hang on a mo...

    All any of this does is proves that each worker turning up is the same person that turns up to the "screening interview".

    So unless all 9000 of the screening interviews on the workers are detailed enough (and full of enough magic pixie dust presumably) to predict if they will ever have any intention of aiding a terrorist... then it's all just security theatre and gravy for some consultancy firm run by that nice guy from the golf club.

    What will the criteria for failure be?

    * Has e-mailed a guy in North Africa?

    * Has e-mailed a guy in France/Switzerland who knows a guy in North Africa?

    * Has recently visited Pakistan?

    * Has ever visited Pakistan?

    * Is a Muslim?

    * Is the wrong colour?

    * May be a closet homosexual?

    * Seems to be getting annoyed by the authority figure asking all the personal questions?

  15. Paul 4

    Id tell them too...

    F-off if they came round to my house and demanded I prove my ID.

  16. Adam Salisbury

    In through the backdoor

    So how many Londoners will find themselves having ID cards foist upon them for 'security and health and safety purposes'??

  17. Eddie 4

    Backdoor ID cards Seems an obvious attempt to introduce ID cards through the back door.

    First, soften us up by targeting 'dodgy' builders, then widen the net to trawl in other suspect groups (doctors, nurses, IT contractors .. the usual suspects) & then only those with something to hide will be left outside the system (crooks, terrorists, bankers, MPs) & full liberty to do as they please.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Health and Safety?

    "Biometric access controls are utilised for health and safety reasons"

    I suppose if the terrorists don't manage to bomb you because of the security measures then you will remain safe and healthy instead of bombed, shot and dead.

    Anyway, I hope the place is going to be built like Fort Knox, too many times have I seen access control on doors that could easily be pushed open with a bit of force or kicked in easily, what's the point in that? it only hinders people that work there.

  19. Citizen Kaned


    in the construction indusrty we already need CSCS cards for all staff on site. these are photo cards anyway.

    yeah - olympics is a bag of shite. its for people that arent into any specific sport and find emaciated women running 10,000m entertaining. the world cup would bring in more cash and we wouldnt need to build all those stadiums for sports we dont care about.

  20. Duckorange

    Not just London

    I live just a brisk boat ride across the harbour from the Weymouth & Portland sailing academy where the 2012 sailing events are to be held.

    If a fat lummox like me can row a boat - what about highly-trained terrists? This can only lead to one thing: absolutely nothing.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Re: Real Security?

    Yep. Hand scanners are about verification, not identification. You would provide your identity with the smart card and the scanner verifies that you match the hand pattern on the system (not on the card) for that ID. False negatives aren't really an issue. Those people would have to go and find a responsible adult to get their access sorted out.

    There shouldn't be a significant number of false positives because the system is checking the hand supplied against a known pattern. As long as you're reasonably close, that's ok. If you wanted to steal someone's card (or fake a card) to gain access you'd have to pick someone with the same hand pattern. Yes, it's possible, but you'd have to go around taking detailed measurements of the hands of all the cleared workers to try and find a match. That's not really practical.

    As for health and safety, I accept their argument. Stopping untrained workers getting on site helps stop accidents and building flaws. It doesn't stop accidents completely, but at least you're limiting the problem to people not following their training rather than being clueless.

  22. seanj


    The only terrorists you're likely to find attempting to gain entry to the Olympic Village are the politicians reponsible for this kind of atrocity against civil liberties - and they'll no doubt be exempt from any biometric security measures anyway, "cos they're so trustworthy".

    I'm interested how this is going to affect me, since my family live within what will no doubt become a "your papers please" area.

  23. Ted Treen
    Big Brother

    More FUD...

    Make it awkward for the populace, tell 'em how vigilant you're being to protect them from the nasty terrorists and unfortunately a surprisingly high number fall for this crap, so your privileged elite position is perpetuated.

    David Icke was partially correct - they're all lizards.

  24. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    What are you complaining about?

    Didn't you know ID cards prevent swine flu? They also smooth sharp edges, stop heavy objects from falling and prevent global warming.

    If you were a Labour politician, who would you be more frightened of: an angry man with a gun in Afghanistan or a taxpayer in the UK? Do ID cards make sense now?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Security theatre

    "put your hand on the scanner citizen, it is for your safety"

  26. Cameron Colley

    How will this protect us from the real terrorists?

    You know, the ones who tried to bankrupt the country by selling the gold reserves off cheap and then ensured we had bombing attacks by making up lies so that we could follow the US into Iraq. The ones who are increasing the number of the laws in the statue books so fast that the police can arrest anyone for something because nobody knows which is illegal. The ones who stole hundreds of thousands of pounds of our money then attempted to have those who told us about it arrested.

    Who will stop the real terrorist scum?

  27. Steve Swann

    Wait a second....

    The threat of terrorism is so great at the new Olympic Stadium; we fear the actions of the international jihadists, the Taleban, the (imaginary) forces of Al Qaeda!

    So, do we ramp up MI5/MI6? Call in New Scotland Yard? Put the army on the streets? Increase police cover?

    No! We send for the HSE and make it a Health & Safety concern. Yeah! HSE vs (imaginary) Al Qaeda! We are sure to win that conflict! Why didn't we do that before?! Lets send them out to Afghanistan right away too!

    And on another note "Biometric access controls are utilised for health and safety reasons" just sound a little like the 'controlled access points' in Halflife 2 - Where are you Gordon Freeman? Perhaps we can name the first one in East London as 'checkpoint charlie', just for fun....

  28. Graham Marsden
    Big Brother

    Of course...

    ... once these systems are in place, there's a "good" argument for *leaving* them in place to ensure that everyone who visits the Olympics is properly identified. Naturally this will require the system to be extended to the entire population of London and then to anyone who visits London and then...

    (I wonder if anyone's thought of the potential terrorist threat of them planting mines in Weymouth or Portland harbours to blow up boats in the sailing events? Oops, maybe I'm giving them ideas...!)

  29. Richard 102

    Health and Safety

    I work in a place where there are genuine concerns about H&S, given the industry we're in and what we do. I mean, we can kill and maim people with chemicals, heavy equipment, etc. That's valid, and no one would deny it. However, the H&S people go a bit far. There was one pompous twerp at a previous job, where we were all just shifting bits and not dealing with dangerous substances, who kept writing up everyone with a clipboard. One day he got above himself and aggressive to a young lady who was a black belt candidate in tae kwan do. In front of witnesses.

    It did not end well; an HR person saw what he was doing and he was gone that minute. (Turns out he also had a bunch of naughty things on his PC. Shocking, huh?)

  30. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    on a slightly off-topic note...

    I'm not going deeper into the absurdity of this so-called health and safety measures for the Olympics (and yes, send the latter to France. Or to Americas, or Libya, or who cares, but please far, far away).

    What puzzles me (well, not really but it's worth thinking about anyway) is the following. We have all these very sophisticated security measures e.g. around airports all for the greater public good. Yet when some 13-year old phones in and jappers about some bomb on a plane all is being blocked, cancelled and scrutinised. Shouldn't the answer really be "good joke, now sod off!"?


  31. RW

    What the Olympics is really about

    It's about funneling the proceeds from sale of broadcast rights into the pockets of the IOC and national Olympic committees. As an Italian grandmother of my acquaintance once said, members of the IOC live better than kings. Members of national Olympic committees don't do so badly either.

    What I've never understood is why pols fall over themselves to be scammed by the IOC. There hasn't been an Olympic Games in recent history that hasn't run seriously over budget and left the host country's taxpayers on the hook for huge amounts of money while the IOC waltzes away with stuffed wallets.

    Now if the proceeds from sale of broadcast rights were channeled into paying for the physical facilities - the stadiums, the tracks, the velodromes, etc - then maybe the Olympics would be worth a second look, but as matters stand, the real goal seems to be to enrich the members of the IOC and support their lifestyle - which is, as my Italian grandmere said, better than that of kings.

    It's a corrupt affair, no two ways about it.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    @Paul 4 - I'd Tell Them To

    Right on, brother. a quick STFU, followed by a very polite ODFO and then a not-so-polite DIAF.

    Brought up by a vist from Mr. Clue Bat.

  33. Anonymous Coward


    They want to screen the locals for terrorists?

    If having links to Pakistan is to be the criteria for determining who is a potential terrorist and should therefore be excluded from the area while the hop skip and jump idiocy is going on...well the place will be feckin deserted.

    Frankly I think we'd all have been better off if the IOC had bankrupted Paris instead.

    Still as Juvenal said. Bread and Circuses.

    ex Local.

  34. elderlybloke
    Paris Hilton

    I must be an IT type!

    I have the same opinion as many of you seem to have.

    Fortunately , down here in New Zealand we are too small to think about staging an Olympic Games.

    I could engage in some sport with Paris (wishful thinking at my age).

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