On the creepier side of things, this year’s World Cup will also go down as one of the most tightly contested surveilled in the sport’s history. This year, each and every attendee entering a stadium will be tracked by a system of 15,000 cameras equipped with facial recognition technology. The surveillance apparatus, reminiscent of the tech used by the more notorious Clearview AI, is reportedly controlled through a technical hub called the Aspire command and control center. That command center will seat a row of technicians monitoring and analyzing those camera feeds.
The surveillance system expands past stadium confines and will also include nearby train and bus stations. Overheard, drones will reportedly fly overhead to estimate crowd size.
“What you see here is a new standard, a new trend in venue operations, this is our contribution from Qatar to the world of sport,” Niyas Abdulrahiman, the event’s chief technology office, said in an interview with AFP. “What you see here is the future of stadium operations.”