More Americans will likely be tuned into Sunday’s Super Bowl 50 than any other program this year, and the magnitude of the nation’s biggest entertainment event calls for heightened security to match.
Although federal agencies insist there is no credible threat to the game, one million people are expected to visit the San Francisco Bay Area during Super Bowl week. Thus, security officials are taking every precaution while also implementing some new ones — even if they won’t disclose exactly what they are.
The Super Bowl comes in the wake of November’s Paris attacks and the December San Bernardino shooting, both of which are linked to ISIS or ISIS sympathizers. FBI agent David Johnson told Reuters what most of us already know about the Super Bowl’s appeal to terrorists.
“This is a high-profile target,” Johnson said. “A terrorist group would receive a great deal of publicity (if they attacked it), which is what they are looking for.”
Even though the game itself is still almost a week away, the beefed-up security is already noticeable around the San Francisco area.
— Gerald Owens (@gowenstv5) February 2, 2016
Serious security here….
Heavily armed officer at super bowl city pic.twitter.com/OmrJhp831j
— Ali Wolf (@awolfTV) February 1, 2016
There will be a no-fly zone around the stadium during the game, and the U.S. Coast Guard will also block off the creek near Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. Law enforcement will also prepare for lone wolf style of attacks, similar to those seen in the San Bernardino shooting. This means heavy crowd monitoring and surveillance, including “behavior detection officers.” A Wired report details some of the new tracking technology that will be deployed for the game.
“The Bay Area already is packed with surveillance equipment installed by the government and private businesses. The hardware includes an array of cell phone surveillance devices, video cameras, automated license plate readers, and most recently, social media monitoring software.”
There is the obvious clash between civil rights and security concerns for fans coming to the game, and officials did their best to assure reporters that a healthy balance would be struck. That being said, if you do not want your movements tracked extensively, you would be advised to avoid the Super Bowl and related events altogether.
The Panthers and Broncos kick things off this Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET.