Here’s a fun fact to start the week–police are using facial recognition technology to spy on fans at music festivals. Well, not every festival, as major music events including Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, and Electric Forest have now joined the resistance against using potentially-abusable and slightly unethical technology on its attendees.
Recently, artists including Tom Morello and Speedy Ortiz teamed up with digital rights advocacy group Fight For The Future to raise awareness for the potential danger and abuse of power that comes with such new, military-grade technology. Now, major music festivals including the above-mentioned along with Shambhala, Paradiso Fest, Sonic Bloom, Summer Meltdown, Lucidity Festival, and Punk Rock Bowling have joined the resistance.
Last spring it was reported that Live Nation and its ticketing platform Ticketmaster suggested they’re looking into the technology that would replace the use of physical tickets with facial recognition software. The news came after it was discovered that Live Nation Entertainment had invested money in Blink Identity, a new commercial facial recognition company that formerly “spent the last decade building and deploying large scale biometric identification systems in the Middle East for the Department of Defense.”
An updated statement shared by Live Nation claims that the borderline monopolistic concert promoter currently has no plans to use the tech at its shows or events.
Other artists who have since taken sides with Now Fight For The Future include the Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon, Amanda Palmer, Downtown Boys, Laura Stevenson, Atmosphere, Anti-Flag.