Beijing goes high tech
In a move to help eliminate ticket scalping and ticket fraud, Chinese officials have taken technological measures to make sure that only those who have purchased tickets to the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics in the Bird’s Nest Stadium will get in.
The tickets have RFID chips inserted in each ticket containing the ticket purchaser’s confidential information - private information that wouldn’t fly in many places besides China. Included in each RFID chip is the ticket holder’s name, photograph, telephone numbers, email addresses and Passport data.
Officials claim that all of this information is necessary to ensure that the face value of $720 per ticket is not marked up and re-sold by scalpers. Some have speculated that the in-depth identity information is being used to discourage potential protestors looking for their ultimate “15 minutes of fame” inside a huge venue like the Bird’s Nest Stadium, which has a capacity of 91,000 seats.
The information contained in the RFID chip will surely raise privacy concerns among foreign dignitaries and other well-known politicians and celebrities who may not want this information recorded where it could be potentially misused, stolen or resold. And perish the thought of a lost ticket – the potential for identity theft is of huge concern.
The IOC has said it has confidence in the technology, but a similar type of technology was attempted before the 2006 World Cup and was abandoned due to privacy and logistical concerns.