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  • ATR First: Tokyo 2020 Emphasizes Cyber Security


    (ATR) The Tokyo 2020 security team is used to preparing for uncertainty.

    A safe metropolis like Tokyo can never be too prepared to face security risks (Tokyo 2020)
    With three years until the next Summer Games, it is impossible to say what the greatest threat to the 2020 Olympics will be. Organizers must prepare for everything, even if Tokyo is one of the world’s safest capital cities.

    “Security risks constantly evolve and every scenario needs to be considered, therefore security planning needs to start early,” Katasunori Imai, executive director of security, told Around the Rings last week in Tokyo.

    “At the same time we have to respond flexibly to new ones. The fundamentals and basic strategies should be flexible so we can go without totally changing them.”

    Imai says that three years out it is hard to put a detailed plan in place. In fact, organizers in South Korea are spending this summer crafting the PyeongChang2018 security plan. Once finalized, the plan will only come together months before the next Olympic Games.

    But there is one area that Tokyo knows will be a certainty during the Olympics: the potential for cyber attacks.

    Tokyo 2020 has been working with as many stakeholders as possible to craft a cyber security plan. That includes leveraging knowledge from past organizers, TOP sponsors, and domestic partners in the information security sector.

    Takeshi Tachi, executive director of technology services, tells ATR that organizers are focused on three major choke points. The first is protections for simultaneous attacks against Tokyo 2020 operating systems. The next is mitigating risks present when using a high volume of information technologies. Finally, organizers are accounting for the demands and complications of using a global system with a global staff.

    Tokyo 2020 must protect citizens in a diverse urban setting, and its online networks (Getty Images)
    “Cyber security is not only about systems,” Tachi said. “Terrorists don’t separate cyber and site security.”

    The more technology is integrated into daily life and the more mobile it becomes, the greater security risk it presents for a major operation like the Olympics. Tachi says the difference in mobile technology was apparent between the London 2012 and the Rio 2016 Olympics. That will only grow ahead of Tokyo 2020.

    “If we rely too much on [mobile] technology for our operation it becomes a bit risky, but there is no way to avoid that in terms of cost and productivity,” Tachi said. “I don’t think [cyber security] is the biggest risk [for Tokyo], where site security and physical terrorism are the largest issues, but the point that I told you is all terrorists start using the latest technology and the latest hacking tools are available on the internet.”

    Security Preparedness Ingrained in Planning

    The Olympic Games are no stranger to terrorism, having seen it first in Munich and looming in the background of Salt Lake City preparations. While Japan does not have a history of foreign attacks on its soil, Imai says preparedness goes beyond just planning.

    The construction site for the National Stadium (ATR)
    At all venue construction sites, a security plan is already in place for “planning, construction, and renovation,” according to Imai. The preparations go for physical site security as well as the installation of high-tech closed-circuit television cameras.

    Imai says increases in camera technologies will be one of the largest “invisible” legacies from Tokyo 2020. Organizers will use 4K technologies that make camera resolution sharper, which will aid facial recognition software. This software will be used at all venues to help reduce the chance of human error by volunteers screening accreditations. 

    Organizers say they will continue to seek out the newest and best technologies to aid in the Games. The conversations had here may be outdated by the time the 2020 Opening Ceremony starts. Still, for Imai that means there is not a moment of complacency .

    “My job is to worry,” Imai said. “I did worry, I do worry, and I will worry until G-1 days [to Tokyo 2020]. From the day of the Opening Ceremony my mind will change to become optimistic. That is the law in this field.”

    Written by Aaron Bauer

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