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Mexican soccer removes face biometrics from Fan ID security scheme

Mexican soccer removes face biometrics from Fan ID security scheme

Mexico’s soccer Liga MX and the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol (FMF) have followed independent advice and dropped facial recognition tools from Fan ID, a project launched in March 2022 following high levels of violence among stadium spectators.

The deployment of the face biometrics tool was intended to identify those involved with violence and prevent them from entering stadiums, or even a three-kilometer radius of a pitch. The installation of facial recognition systems was implemented earlier in the year at several stadiums, ahead of a planned league-wide rollout planned for the beginning of the Apertura 2022 season on July 1.

Fast forward to the present day, the Gal Times reports that the league, the FMF, and the National Institute of Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data (INAI), published their agreement that the former two entities will no longer collect biometric data for facial recognition of fans. The INAI is Mexico’s data protection authority.

The agreement followed the INAI’s investigation and opinion on protecting personal data, especially biometrics, as captured in the Fan ID scheme. The Liga MX and FMF will proceed to find safe ways to implement the project.

Liga MX stated that the system is not based on video surveillance with facial recognition, which could mean that no facial recognition cameras scanning the stands, but possibly at the points of entry. Infobae reports that biometric data will not be collected at all.

“It should be noted that FAN ID, as exposed at the meeting by the FMF and LIGA MX, is not based on the use of video surveillance technologies with facial recognition, nor in the use of fans’ backgrounds, nor does it provide for the unrestricted transfer of data,” The Gal Times quotes from the joint statement.

“On the contrary, the Federation and the League are committed to complying with the principles, duties, and obligations related to the treatment and protection of personal data.”

The INAI recommends the bodies develop a comprehensive approach to how the technology will work and how data will be used; ensure the risks of each phase of information collection and retention and apply principles of data minimization and proportionality.

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