The Super Bowl is the biggest televised event of the year in the United States. 100 million people will watch on TV, nearly a million people will be in the San Francisco area celebrating the event, and the average cost for a 30 second ad is up to $5 million (Approximately $160,000 per second). With the big event just a couple days away, almost every security and defense agency in the United States has descended on the city to make it safe.
The effort is headed by the Department of Homeland Security and will work in accordance with the DEA, TSA, FBI, U.S. Secret Service, the Coast Guard, and state and local law enforcement. Police have spent months running drills in and around the city, and government agencies have been collecting as much information as they can.
“We gather intelligence, and we share information,” says Michele Ernst at the FBI. “We have our own joint operations center. We have other joint information centers in San Francisco and Santa Clara, and we’re working hard to make sure information is shared. It’s a collaborative effort.”
It will not be disclosed what specific surveillance measures will be used, but the city is already full of surveillance equipment like cell phone surveillance devices, video cameras, and social media monitoring software.
What other surveillance will be used?
In addition to what’s on site, the FBI and other agencies will be bringing their own tech into play. You can be certain that those attending the game will be photographed and tracked. Just about every security camera in and around the stadium is linked to the police, so they’ll be watching live all weekend long. The police department also has a series of fake cell phone towers that can track cell phone signals and even record conversations and text messages.
Where is it getting sorted?
With all of the data being collected, it can be a massive headache as to how to sort through it all. Conveniently, the San Francisco area is also home to one of the nation’s largest data fusion centers – The Northern California Regional Intelligence Center. The Department of Homeland Security will work with the NSA and FBI to sort through all of the information that will be coming in.
How have things changed since the beginning?
Since the origination of the Super Bowl in the 1960s the tech involved with the game has been getting more and more advanced every year. From the introduction to the instant replay to drones that are suspended above the field, the way in which the field is watched in all respects has only gotten more advanced. Are you, or anyone you know going to be in the area for Super Bowl 50? We’d love to hear about the experience!