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Festivals pledge facial recognition ban

Music festivals including Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits and Pitchfork Music Festival agree to ban facial recognition tech, according to campaign group Fight for Future

By Anna Grace on 25 Sep 2019

Festivals pledge facial recognition ban

Organisers of music festivals including C3 Presents-promoted Austin City Limits (ACL), Live Nation-owned Bonnaroo, independent UK event Shambhala and Pitchfork Music Festival have stated they will not use facial recognition technology at their events.

Other festivals to commit to the ban include Live Nation’s Bass Canyon, Latitude 38 Entertainment’s Bottlerock, Excision’s Lost Lands, USC Events’ Paradiso, Madison House Presents/Insomniac’s Electric Forests, and a handful of independent events in the US, such as Wanderlust, Sonic Bloom and Lucidity.

A representative from Live Nation, which bought into biometric identification company Blink Identity in 2018, told Digital Music News that facial recognition technology is not currently used at any of its events, with any future use of the tech being on a strictly opt-in basis.

The push for a ban on biometric identification technology, which has been introduced at some events in the past few years for security and ticketing purposes, is being led by digital rights advocacy group Fight for the Future, who believe the technology is discriminatory and an invasion of privacy.

“We just launched a new scorecard showing where major music festivals stand when it comes to using invasive and racially biased facial recognition technology on fans”

“We just launched a new scorecard showing where major music festivals stand when it comes to using invasive and racially biased facial recognition technology on fans,” explains Fight for Future’s deputy director Evan Greer.

“Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, Electric Forest and others have committed to not using biometric surveillance, while Coachella, SXSW, and Riot Fest have refused to make the same promise.”

The campaign has garnered the support of artists including Tom Morello, Speedy Ortiz, Amanda Palmer and Atmosphere, who have all spoken out against the use of the technology at their concerts.

Matt Bettenhausen, senior vice president and chief security officer at AEG, last year commented that he was “not there yet” on the benefits of facial recognition technology as a security feature.

Bettenhausen will share his thoughts on live event security at the Event Safety & Security Summit (E3S) at London’s Congress Centre on 8 October, where the role that facial recognition plays in event security will be discussed in more detail. To register for the event, click here.

 


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