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Germans plan biometric hooligan clampdown

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The German government plans to record the biometric facial features of those present in stadiums during the World Cup in 2006. By comparing these features with images stored in a database, the police hope to identify potential hooligans. When the software recognises a suspicious person, security forces on location can immediately be alerted. The security plan was presented this week in Stuttgart by Germany's Interior Minister Otto Schily.

Face recognition, of course, is not new, not even to identify hooligans. Although there are about 80 differences in facial features between people, only 14 are needed to confirm identification. Plastic surgery, beards and glasses can't obscure these measurements.

In Germany, however, they will go one step further. The police, Heise Online reports, will be equipped with mobile optical fingerprint systems for fast identification based on data for people with a criminal record. Furthermore, it won't be possible for soccer fans to enter stadiums without an official RFID ticket. ®

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