AEG, Live Nation + More Promoters Assure Fans They Will Not Implement Facial Recognition Tech

Facial Recognition

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.

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Tom Morello, The Glitch Mob + More Voice Outrage About Facial Recognition At Festivals

Facial Recognition

Facial recognition technology may be coming to festivals soon, and many people from artists to attendees are afraid of the repercussions.

Live Nation’s investment last year in Blink Identity, a company specializing in facial recognition, has spawned a new campaign in opposition to the use of the tech at festivals and concerts. It was started by digital rights group Fight For The Future, and already has support from artists such as Tom Morello, The Glitch Mob, and more.

At first glance, facial recognition technology can be used for many good and beneficial reasons, ranging from identifying stalkers – as was used at a Taylor Swift concert at the Rose Bowl stadium in Los Angeles last year – to pairing your face with your ticket, reducing the time fans wait in line to get in. On the other side of the same coin, many are warning of the negative effects that the technology could cause such as the result of faulty programming in algorithms that have already been seen with Amazon which recently incorrectly identified one in five lawmakers in California as criminals.

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Depending on who is being asked, the other potential benefits/drawbacks to facial recognition being used at events include pointing out illegal immigrants, drug dealers, people with outstanding warrants and the such that may lead to safer concert experiences. Regardless, Live Nation does not want these options at their events and Fight For The Future have spoken out: “Music fans should feel safe and respected at festivals and shows, not subjected to invasive biometric surveillance.”

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