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Bonnaroo, Electric Forest, ACL, more commit to not using facial recognition technology

Advancements in technology can do great things for society while others border on being invasive and an invasion of privacy. In 2018, news broke that Ticketmaster had invested in facial recognition technology from tech company Blink Identity. The goal of this technology was to allow ticketholders into shows without the need for a ticket. This technology would learn concert go-ers biometrics and scan them for admission.

Some airlines and concert tours have already taken advantage of this technology, but the idea of using it at big events like festivals isn’t going over well with fans. Festivals and concerts are a place of self-expression but many people still would like to remain anonymous.

This month, a number of musicians have joined the digital rights group Fight For The Future (FFTF) in a campaign against this technology. Artists like Speedy Ortiz, The Glitch Mob, and Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello and more are coming together to fight against this technology. Big festivals like Bonnaroo, Electric Forest, Austin City Limits, Coachella, EDC and more have already disclosed that they won’t be using this technology. Find the full list of festivals and their stance on this technology here.

Some artists like Taylor Swift have already implemented this technology to root out stalkers. But, this technology is still a concern to concert go-ers because flawed algorithms can “put undocumented fans, fans of color, trans fans, and fans with criminal records at risk of being unjustly detained, harassed, or judged,” according to FFTF.

Many festivals like Electric Forest and Bonnaroo are associated with Ticketmaster’s parent company Live Nation but have already pledged to not go about using Blink Identity’s technology. Only time will tell what happens with this technology and those concert and festivals associated with Ticketmaster.