Sponsor-Only Security at the 2012 London Olympics

If you want your security technology to be considered for the London Olympics, you have to be a major sponsor of the event.

...he casually revealed that because neither of these companies was a ‘major sponsor’ of the Olympics their technology could not be used.

Yes, you read that right, as far as the technology behind the security of the London Olympic Games is concerned best of breed and suitability for purpose do not come into, paying a large amount of money to the International Olympic Committee does.

I have repeatedly said that security is generally only part of a larger context, but this borders on ridiculous.

Posted on April 30, 2007 at 5:55 AM • 37 Comments

Comments

WooApril 30, 2007 6:19 AM

So the security will mostly be provided by Coca Cola, Adidas and the like? At least at the last few olympics, I failed to notice any sponsors on the list that I'd know as security product companies.
This doesn't border on ridiculous, this already goes far beyond. By artificially limiting the bandwidth of useable products you are bound to get less security than necessary.
I really hope the London Police will sign up as a sponsor.. I'd hate to imagine the Games without a certain amount of cops around.. ;)

dlgApril 30, 2007 6:20 AM

That can backfire...

"This unnecessary harrassment in the name of security was brought to you by..."

Not the nicest way to be remembered by your potential customers.

Hunt for Coloured SeptemberApril 30, 2007 6:34 AM

It's just a plan to see that the Israeli teams don't attend and reduce our chance of winning something.

wiredogApril 30, 2007 7:00 AM

Well, there is the possibility that, say, coca-Cola will hire someone else to do the actual security. Someone who is competent.

DerobApril 30, 2007 7:04 AM

Whilst this sounds bad indeed, about which part of the security is this MP really talking? Was it about controlling overall security, including the risk of terrorist attacks, or was it just about who gets into a venue? The latter is a far more limited scope which is normally controlled by private security companies anyway.
I am pretty sure that the UK police, military and intelligence services will be covering most of the security regarding attacks, they won't (and will not be able to) leave that to anyone else. As regard to the second aspect, I don't see why Visa can't handle that. They may require you to have a Visa card to buy a ticket (is that already known?) which allows limited vetting, secondly they will contract a security firm to do the rest.

Steve BarbedWireKissApril 30, 2007 7:32 AM

Oh great! I heard that McDonalds is to be a "major sponsor" of the London Olympics.

'Here's your biometric scanner. Would you like fries with that?'

aikimarkApril 30, 2007 7:34 AM

Isn't BT a major sponsor?!?

Maybe they're putting the squeeze on their competition. :-)

I can see the ads now:
* TwoFish -- official cipher of the 2012 Olympics
* Protected by Bruce
* Security by Schneier
* Counter terrorism by CounterPane
* The 2012 Olympics -- the hinky need not attend
* The 2012 Olympics -- the hinky dare not attend
* Security theater? Leave the theatrics to the opening ceremonies.

RoyApril 30, 2007 7:42 AM

Maybe they're wising up. Think of the huge fortune squandered on security in the Athens Olympics. As any fool can plainly see, it was all make-believe, none of it was real. (Remember the 'extra security' that was put in on the sly?)

If sponsors want to put their brand out there, let them pay for the theatrics, and kick a taste of that money upstairs. It's time these things should be run like a business -- a la The Sopranos.

Mr SmeeeeethApril 30, 2007 8:00 AM

I have a nasty feeling that – come 2012 – the security of the Olympics will have been whittled down to the lowest common denominator – Ken Livingstone running about in a Batman costume.

Bruce SchneierApril 30, 2007 8:30 AM

"So the security will mostly be provided by Coca Cola, Adidas and the like? At least at the last few olympics, I failed to notice any sponsors on the list that I'd know as security product companies."

My guess is that it will be large system integrators getting the monster contracts: IBM, for example. So I'm sure lots of non-sponsor products and services will be used, only purchased by the major sponsors.

And I never thougth about the possibility of BT being a sponsor. It's in the UK, so it's an almost certainty. But I'm sure they don't want my help.

Bruce SchneierApril 30, 2007 8:38 AM

"Well, there is the possibility that, say, coca-Cola will hire someone else to do the actual security. Someone who is competent."

Do they really want all cameras emblasoned with the Coca-Cola logo? Maybe they do....

FPApril 30, 2007 9:16 AM

Obviously, London is simply expecting to get all security donated for free. Implementation of seamless audio and video coverage, paying hundreds of trained monkeys to watch the footage 24/7, plus all the physical security that the masses expect -- people are starting to feel insecure when they are not strip-searched and asked for papers -- and you become a major sponsor even without spending a single pound on advertising.

The Olympics budget has already tripled to $12bn from the original estimate, and is likely to ballon further, so the organizers probably attempt to get for free whatever they can.

But I'm sure that many additional billions will be spent on security. I'm sure that London will bring in the police from around the country, have the army on standby, and maybe deploy some missile defenses as part of the usual security theater. This money just won't come from the "Olympics" budget, but from other buckets.

aikimarkApril 30, 2007 9:19 AM

Maybe DHS can sponsor the security. You know what a good reputation they have (no US attacks since 9/11).

It will give them a chance to implement RealID for ticket purchasers and attendees, proving how good it REALLY is.

If they can protect the 2012 Olympics, we would naturally feel safer about them protecting America. Sounds logical, doesn't it?!?

For international events, maybe they can change their acronym to Draconian Homeland Security or Draconian Habeas-corpus Security, or Draconian Hopeful Security.

=========================
* Blocked by Bruce
* British Terrorism, CounterPane style
* All Security, no Snake Oil
* Just Security, hold the Snake Oil
* Free closing ceremony ticket to the first one to compromise this secure hash.
* Better security than the Super Bowl, we promise.

NealApril 30, 2007 9:45 AM

The Internal Olympic Committee presents the 2012 London Olympics, sponsored in part by Al Qaeda - widely recognized as the world leader in detecting security breaches.

Al Qaeda proudly donated 10 million pounds to these olympic games for the right to protect you and the atheletes. Feel assured that you, your family and your friends can visit these games in safety thanks to the abundance of Al Queda personnel on hand.

As an added gesture of Olympic spirit and co-operation, Al Queda has arranged for free admittance to the opening ceremony for all. It will also be distributing gate prizes that it promises will add bang to the ceremony.

Jack C LiptonApril 30, 2007 10:28 AM

Well... think about it.

Why do you think IBM bailed out of the Olympics?

Given the other scandals the IOC's people have been tangled in you don't have to be _too_ naive to realize that it's all about money.

Kinda reminiscent of the stereotypical "banana republic", ain't it?

FooDooHackedYouApril 30, 2007 10:32 AM

What?! How in the heck is my new FooDoo security foo technology going to be adopted then? I was hoping they would be my guinea pigs... Sheesh!!! Some peoples kids...just follow the money trail again, eh?

Jamie FlournoyApril 30, 2007 11:25 AM

>Well, there is the possibility that, say, coca-Cola will
>hire someone else to do the actual security.

I hope it's the polar bears from their winter ad campaigns. I'd be a lot more likely to cooperate with a 1000lb beast than a couple of M&Ms that sound suspiciously like Jon Lovitz. If it's just going to be security theater, then the M&Ms are a better pick since they exist only to amuse and entertain.

OTOH, being patted down by a polar bear could be fatal, even if it's the baby polar bear. Those little white gloves the M&Ms wear would be safer.

averyApril 30, 2007 11:36 AM

Ken Livingstone in a Batman costume would make me far safer than a lot of things I've seen done in the name of Security.

FooDooHackedYouApril 30, 2007 12:22 PM

Just have the London zoo be a sponsor and then let the hippos go wild with their chompers!

roenigkApril 30, 2007 1:05 PM

If the choice comes down to security theater, then get the best. Clearly the leader in theatrics would be The Disney Company.

Also, they have excellent experience in crowd control. Although lines are long within their parks, people are entertained and made comfortable during their wait.

Disney has had their own security force for over 50 years that has a 100% success rate preventing terrorist attacks at their facilities.

Don't laugh. Their imagineers could probably come up with some great solutions to allow the crowds to feel safer.

Philip StorryApril 30, 2007 4:12 PM

The 2012 Olympiad Security Script:

"Hi, and welcome to the London Olympic Games 2012!

My name is , and I'm working with Sony Security Systems to make this Olympiad the safest, funnest, winningest yet!

The Olympic Games takes your security seriously. In this uncertain age, we want you to be certain that your Olympiad experience is about the sports and the culture.

You have been brought to this area because you tried to gain access to an Olympic area without being appropriately equipped. Every valid Olympiad ticket entitles the purchaser to the security that he or she deserves, via the Sony Rectally Rooted Security Kit.

The Sony Rectally Rooted Security Kit is a discreet 2 inch device which is inserted into your person, and then tracks your movements and certain biological parameters. It automatically shares this information with our security teams, to allow us to identify terrorists or unauthorised audio/visual recording operations.

For an additional £3.99 per day, you can upgrade your Sony Rectally Rooted Security Kit with the Coca-Cola SureSecure option. This extra layer of security allows you to get down into the standing area between the seating and the sports area, so that you can really see the sports happening! In addition, it activates a microphone in your Sony Rectally Rooted Security Kit, which allows us to keep an even closer eye on your security!

If you do choose the Coca-Cola SureSecure option, then please note that you are not allowed to be seated at any point during the Olympiad, as this would muffle the microphone's audio. As compensation, Coca-Cola will discount your first 330ml can of any beverage substantially each day.

If you do not opt to have a Sony Rectally Rooted Security Kit installed at this time, then you will still be allowed access to the Olympiad events, but a routine bag-strip-and-cavity search will be administered on each entry/egress of the building, to ensure that other Olympiad Attendees are not at risk from your recklessness.
Please note that waiting times for this search may be upwards of four hours, and we will also be taking images and genetic samples for your security.

Would you like you Sony Rectally Rooted Security Kit in blue or pink, ?"

suomynonAApril 30, 2007 5:42 PM

"Security by Schneier" -- That's pretty catchy. Counterpane should put that on some of their products...

jtApril 30, 2007 9:48 PM

I know someone who was going into a venue at the Salt Lake City Olympics and the security search turned up a soda from a rival company of a major event sponsor, and he was told he couldnt' bring it in -- only "X products allowed"

David CantrellMay 1, 2007 6:36 AM

"If you want your security technology to be considered for the London Olympics, you have to be a major sponsor of the event."

If this were anything other than the Olympics, that would be called bribery.

XellosMay 1, 2007 8:57 AM

"What?! How in the heck is my new FooDoo security foo technology going to be adopted then?"

I'd suggest trying Utah, but you might need to hire someone with the right family, I mean, connections.

Fenris FoxMay 1, 2007 10:57 AM

This is really just repetition of an age-old, sad scheme:

Ignore good ideas - unless they come from people with deep pockets.

If the big-buck-folks have only bad ideas... it's like the story about the three eggs: 2 bad!

AnonymousMay 1, 2007 10:59 AM

@aikimark:

"* Blocked by Bruce
* British Terrorism, CounterPane style
* All Security, no Snake Oil
* Just Security, hold the Snake Oil
* Free closing ceremony ticket to the first one to compromise this secure hash.
* Better security than the Super Bowl, we promise."

LMAO!

bobMay 1, 2007 12:46 PM

So if Al-Quaida comes up with a wad of cash (which they do have access to); they can run the security system?

aikimarkMay 1, 2007 2:58 PM

@Fenris Fox

Glad you enjoyed them. I also received an email with kudos, so there's hope for me in an ad agency or in comedy-writing should the IT industry tank again. If only I'd won the 1st movie threat contest, I would already be in Hollywood with an agent. ;-)

There's little I find more enjoyable than laughing at myself, our society, or at the rich and powerful.

gregMay 2, 2007 6:45 AM

The other side of the coin is, how much security do we want at the games? I mean really, how far are we going to go?

etagJuly 16, 2008 3:24 AM

This is a form of modern day bribery that's quite widely accepted in this area of business.

Most people and companies in this day and age would find it quite surprising that it's so blatant actually.

Having worked on a number of games now, unfortunately that's the way it is.

I've experienced it first hand when they ask to either sponsor or buy a corporate box.

Of course they don't ask you up front but if the intentions are there, they will put it under consideration.

For London, it will either be Sony, Panasonic or even Chubb / ADT.

For such companies, association with the brand far outweighs any negatives...

passionate postgradJanuary 22, 2009 6:06 AM

So i am writing my dissertation on the suitability of sponsors for 2012 such as MCD's and Cadbury's etc. I feel quite strongly about the choices made and in line with security approach i think that it is slightly bizarre for non-technical companies to take on this security role?! I am hoping my thesis will open the public and LOCOG's eyes to the dynamics and ethical issues present in the Olympics nowadays. Where has the ideal of sponsors that coincide with the Olympic ideals and morale gone? Oh and if anyone wants to sponsor me for my dissertation that would be great....ha!

KDMarch 23, 2009 3:51 AM

Please support:

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Airsec/

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to This petition
requests that an end be put to the outsourcing of airport
security to private companies and the formation and deployment
of a new government managed and operated organisation to
execute all security duties at UK airports in the future.

Following serious failings within our Airports since and
including the attacks of 9/11,7/7 and the attack on Glasgow
Airport.The UK government should remove private security firms
from our airports.Standards are being compromised in an attempt
to win contracts and profit from the industry. This compromise
is unacceptable in particular in the run up to, during and the
breakdown of the 2012 Olympic Games. There have been many
examples of serious security failings within our airports as
was displayed in an undercover investigation by ITV1's Tonight
with Trevor McDonald found claimed "shocking failures" at
Birmingham International Airport, including security officers
sleeping while on duty and inadequate passenger searches.Only
recently George Thomas boarded a plane at Bristol International
Airport with a pocket full of Shotgun Cartridges. This petition
requests that an end be put to the outsourcing of airport
security to private companies and the formation and deployment
of a new government managed and operated organisation to
execute all security duties at UK airports in the future. It is
time to wake up, in the interest of National Security.

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