September 12, 2019,   3:20 PM

Musicians Join Campaign To Ban Facial Recognition At Music Events

Samar Khouri


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Source: Pixabay

Musicians have voiced their suport on banning the use of facial recognition technology at concerts by joining a campaign spearheaded by digital rights group Fight for the Future.

Artists like Tom MorelloAmanda PalmerNahko, GramatikAnti-FlagThe Glitch Mob,  Laura Stevenson and many more were on board to support this move. 

Owned by Live Nation, US-based ticket sales and distribution company Ticketmaster revealed in its Q1 2018 Financial Results report that it would invest in face-scanning recognition, Blink Identity, that will replace tickets with a person’s image at venues and concerts. This means concertgoers don’t need physicals ticket to enter as the face-scanning cameras will be present instead.

According to the campaign’s website, facial recgnition technology puts all concertgoers and attendees at risk for “being unjustly detained, harassed, or judged” and highlighted that 24/7 surveillance is not guaranteed for the safety of concerts.

“I don’t want Big Brother at my shows targeting fans for harassment, deportation, or arrest. That’s why I’m joining this campaign calling on @Ticketmaster and others not to use #facialrecognition at festivals and concerts,” tweeted Tom Morello, the lead guitarist of supergroup Prophets of Rage,

Fight for the Future’s Deputy Director Evan Greer, added: “Facial recognition surveillance is uniquely dangerous. It doesn’t keep fans or artists safe, it just subjects them to invasive, racially biased monitoring that will inevitably lead to fans getting harassed, falsely arrested, deported, or worse,”.

"We’re calling on all artists to stick up for their fans’ basic rights and safety by speaking out against the use of Big Brother style biometric surveillance at live music events.”

The controversial facial recognition technology is arguably more commonplace. It has been previously deployed high-profile musical events like at pop sensation Taylor Swift’s 2018 Rose Bowl performance in Los Angeles. It was used to spot the singer’s known stalkers.

Facial recognition software has been instrumental in the past to spot miscreants. Within the 60,000 concertgoers, Chinese were able to spot and arrest  31-year-old Chinese man for "economic crimes" at pop star Jackie Cheung’s concert, with the help of the face surveillance technology.

Social network company Facebook has halted automatic facial recognition to tag photos and has made it an opt-in feature.

Additionally, it was also just recently announced that it will also be used for security checks at 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

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