MSU Security Expert Weighs In on Security in Sochi

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With the Winter Olympic games just two weeks away, a lot of the talk isn't about the games, or the athletes. Reports out of Russia say Islamic Terrorists are determined to carry out an attack. A security expert at Michigan State University says he believes authorities may be using high-tech tools that can stop the violence.

Russian troops and checkpoints are part of the so-called “Ring of Steel” around the Olympic venue. But it’s high tech security we may not see, that could be key to preventing an attack in Sochi. Computer Science and Engineering Professor Anil Jain is an expert in Biometrics Security. He says there are many tools available to Russian security forces, like computers that can identify facial images. “You have some people on the watch list and the surveillance cameras are capturing the image and you would like to raise a flag if one of the persons on the watch list has been caught in one of the videos.

Professor Jain says the technology can be so sophisticated, it can read fingerprints, and a person’s pupil, and match it to a computer database. But Russia isn’t sharing it's security plan, so we don't know if authorities are relying on computers for protection. Jain says, “I think in some ways they are correct in not revealing everything they are doing,. We don't want to tip off people.”

People at the Olympic venue may not realize, cameras could be watching their every move. Jain says, those movements could signal a threat. “Using surveillance cameras, is somebody running, is somebody leaving a package, and then walking away, things like that.”

Background checks are another way security personnel can make sure people walking into events are who they say they are. “That's all we can do. We can't read people's mind and say what is this person likely to do.”

Jain says even though there’s worry and uncertainty heading into the Sochi games, he believes stepped up security will stop terror before it strikes. “There's no 100 percent guarantee, but I think it should be a safe and successful games.”

The potential for attacks is always a concern during the Olympics. But this year, U.S. authorities say the concern is higher than it's ever been. Some athletes have asked their parents not to travel to Sochi, so they can focus on the games.