Tom Morello, Anti-Flag, Bonnaroo and More Join Campaign to Ban the Use of Facial Recognition Software at Events

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for Bonnaroo Arts And Music Festival 
Festivalgoers are seen during the 2019 Bonnaroo Arts And Music Festival on June 14, 2019 in Manchester, Tenn.

Artists and live music events have joined non-profit Fight For Our Future’s campaign to stop the use of facial recognition software on fans. Headlining artists such as Tom Morello, Anti-Flag, Amanda Palmer, Atmosphere, Speedy Ortiz and Glitch Mob have added their voices to the campaign that says fans could be at risk.

“I don’t want Big Brother at my shows targeting fans for harassment, deportation, or arrest,” said Morello in a tweet. “That’s why I’m joining this campaign calling on @Ticketmaster and others not to use #facialrecognition at festivals and concerts.”

The ban facial recognition campaign follows Live Nation, the parent company of Ticketmaster, partnering with and investing in facial recognition company Blink Identity in 2018. A representative for Live Nation told Digital Music News that the company is not currently deploying the technology.

Reports have shown that other businesses have begun to use similar technology including iconic music venue Madison Square Garden in New York.

“People should feel safe & respected at shows, not subject to surveillance, harassment, deportation, or arrest. please join me and @fightfortheftr to tell @Ticketmaster & others not to use #facialrecognition at festivals and concerts,” Palmer posted on social media.

Nahko and Medicine for the People, Thievery Corporation, Gramatik, Melissa Ferrick, Downtown Boys, Laura Stevenson, Brian Fallon of Gaslight Anthem, Jeff Rosenstock and B Dolan have also thrown their support behind the campaign along with fans on social media.

“Facial recognition surveillance is uniquely dangerous. It doesn’t keep fans or artists safe, it just subjects them to invasive, racially biased monitoring that will inevitably lead to fans getting harassed, falsely arrested, deported, or worse," Fight for the Future’s Evan Greer said. "We're calling on all artists, venues, festivals, and promoters to stick up for their fans' basic rights and safety by speaking out against the use of Big Brother style biometric surveillance at live music events."

In addition to artists, several major festivals have commented on not using facial recognition software including Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, Electric Forest, and Shambhala. Representatives for Bonnaroo and ACL have stated that they do not use, nor do they currently have plans to use facial recognition software. 

Other events like Paradiso Fest, Sonic Bloom, Summer Meltdown, Lucidity Festival and Punk Rock Bowling posted their commitment to not use the tech publicly.

The campaign is part of Fight for the Future’s broader BanFacialRecognition.com campaign, which has been endorsed my more than 30 major grassroots civil rights organizations including Greenpeace, Color of Change, Daily Kos, United We Dream, Council on American Islamic Relations, MoveOn, and Free Press. The groups are calling for local, state, and federal lawmakers to ban law enforcement use of facial recognition. Several cities have already banned the controversial technology outright, including San Francisco and Oakland, Calif.

Check out the official scorecard of artists, festivals and more that are saying no to facial recognition software in live music spaces at bandfacialrecognition.com.

2019 Billboard Live Music Summit and Awards

 


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