Rage Against the Machine artists Tom Morello and Zach De La Rocha are once again fighting the machine – this time facial recognition, a technology which has significant downsides..
The artists joined hundreds of other singers, songwriters and activists and asked for a ban on facial recognition in music venues. On a website called Banfacialrecognition.com, they’re saying that the now wide-spread practice exacerbates discrimination, stifles free speech and infringes on privacy rights – and they’re calling out music venues who use facial recognition to screen attendees.
“It’s not secure: Once our biometric information is collected and stored in databases, it’s an easy target for identity thieves or state-sponsored hackers. Successful attacks have already happened, and will only grow more commonplace as government and private use of this technology expands.
It doesn’t work: Facial recognition programs identify the wrong person up to 98% of the time. These errors have real-world impacts, including harassment, wrongful imprisonment, and deportation,” are two major and chilling points the movement makes.
In 2019, Tom Morello has already led a campaign that convinced more than 40 big music festivals around the world to stop using or not implement facial recognition to screen their attendants, including Coachella and SXSW. Back then, facing a huge backlash from both musicians and fans, Ticketmaster backtracked on their plans to implement facial recognition using the Blink Identity startup, which would have scanned attendees’s faces in order to match them with their tickers and speed up queues.
However, some artists do support this technology. In 2018, media reported that Taylor Swift uses facial recognition technology to screen for her stalkers during concerts. As for venues, Madison Square Garden’s fiasco is still fresh in memory.
If you support a ban on facial recognition for concerts, head over to the official website, where you’ll find options to pledge as an artist, as a fan or as a venue.
*Lead image by Raph_PH, via Wikimedia Commons