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More artists join campaign against facial-recognition at gigs


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There have been two main stories about the intersection of facial-recognition technology and live music. One was Live Nation’s investment in and pilots-partnership with a startup called Blink Identity, with its technology for identifying concertgoers as they walk past its scanners, without the need for them to show tickets. The other was a controversy around the use of facial-recognition tech at a Taylor Swift concert, in an attempt to identify (and then remove) known stalkers of the star. The latter got much more publicity, fuelled by wider societal concerns about privacy and surveillance. But the fact that Live Nation has invested in this tech has also played in to a growing campaign in the US against the use of facial recognition in the music sphere. The campaign is called Fight For The Future, and it has just announced that musicians including Amanda Palmer, Tom Morello and Thievery Corporation, as well as festivals including Bonnaroo and Austin City Limits, are on board with its battle. “The companies that run major festivals should not be experimenting on music fans by scanning our faces and collecting our biometric information,” said deputy director Evan Greer. “People deserve to know whether their favourite event has plans to use facial recognition technology… Festival organisers have a moral imperative to clearly commit to not using this invasive and racially biased technology on music fans. They should never put our safety and basic rights at risk just to collect our data and turn it into profit.” The campaign has launched an online ‘scorecard’ listing US festivals’ policies on the technology.

Stuart Dredge

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