'No death' aim for cyber security Olympic MP

Wyatt called the Olympics the "biggest piece of business" for UK cyber security experts over the next five years

The "acceptable risk" for security at the 2012 London Olympics is that "no one gets killed", says the chairman of the Parliamentary Olympic Group. Derek Wyatt MP was speaking about the challenges the games pose for cyber security experts during his speech at the InfoSecuity Europe event, here at London's Olympia.

When asked how he would define the success of the security problem, the MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey replied: "Can you define it? Acceptable risk is that no one gets killed. I mean, that's what you start the day off with, isn't it?"

Wyatt spoke about the July 2005 bombings and called the Olympics the "biggest piece of business" for UK cyber security experts over the next five years.

The MP spoke about the key vulnerabilities for the event and the challenges faced from these. Specifically with regards to guaranteeing the integrity of people who buy the tickets. And whether the person that buys the ticket is actually the person who uses it. Wyatt also approached the thorny issue of sponsorship versus necessary technology.

Identity cards

He talked about London Transport Oyster cards or Nokia mobiles being used as identity cards. However, as if to highlight the red tape of the Olympic movement, Wyatt said "we can't use their technology" as they are not principle Olympic sponsors in the relevant sectors.

Credit card operator Visa is likely to cover much of the security ground as one of the eight principal sponsors. "We will have to wait for Visa to come forward with a system...to cover ticketing and ID," Wyatt mused.

Wyatt also urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to cough up for the data security needed to guarantee the integrity of the London games. "They should pay for it. It is unrealistic to expect [the UK] to foot the security bill," he said. Wyatt said that the security estimate, which currently stands at £1 billion, is likely to be "much more than that".

Wyatt also admitted there is a threat right away, with access to the 16 building sites needing to be secure. The MP warned that recently joined EU member states - such as Romania and Bulgaria - could provide labour for the building. This raises security questions, and ID checks would be required to prevent infiltration by external groups.

Speaking more generally about the cost of the games, Wyatt hit out at the way the Government had handled the cost of the games. "It's gone up by £2.8 billion. Do you know how much that is per head of population? £40 each. If I said that to you, do you think you'd mind paying £40? I think we've just handled it wrong. In Government we've had a row between a weak department [Culture] and a strong department, The Treasury."


Dan (Twitter, Google+) is TechRadar's Former Deputy Editor and is now in charge at our sister site T3.com. Covering all things computing, internet and mobile he's a seasoned regular at major tech shows such as CES, IFA and Mobile World Congress. Dan has also been a tech expert for many outlets including BBC Radio 4, 5Live and the World Service, The Sun and ITV News.