Concert promoters in the U.S. are stepping back from plans to implement facial recognition technology at shows and events, after musicians and others gave it some serious side-eye. Though it’s entirely possible that music venues will eventually take a second look at the controversial idea, for now they’re staying away.
Live-entertainment giants AEG Presents and Live Nation recently disavowed any plans to use facial recognition at music festivals, despite earlier indications to the contrary. Live Nation said in a statement that “we do not currently have plans to deploy facial recognition technology at our clients’ venues.” The company insisted that any future use would be “strictly opt-in,” so that non-consenting fans wouldn’t have to worry about their information being compromised. The company’s public pronouncements have led a group of musicians declaring victory after a months-long campaign to halt the technology’s use at live shows.
Advances in computer vision have enabled businesses to install cameras that can recognize individuals by their face or other biometric characteristics. While positive impacts for live entertainment events were noted, such as creating the ability for recognized fans to simply walk into venues without scanning tickets, dissenters claimed the tech could be used maliciously, such as tracking down illegal immigrants or surveilling suspicious activity.