Major Music Festivals Join Anti-Facial Recognition Campaign

April 19, 2023
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Forty of the world’s biggest music festivals – including Coachella, Bonnaroo and SXSW – have pledged against facial recognition at their events. Although the technology has been used since 2018, a campaign launched by digital rights advocate Fight For The Future said face-scanning is an invasion of privacy. 

Citing daggers to fans in the form of misidentification and discrimination at concerts and festivals, the activism group convinced 40 festivals to pledge they won’t use the invasive technology. 

Fight For Future said the campaign aims to make “everyone feel safe and welcome at shows.” 

“So we commit to not allow venues to use invasive surveillance tech like facial recognition at shows we play by updating our rider to require this or boycotting venues that won’t accommodate this request.”

Facial recognition has been becoming increasingly ubiquitous at festivals and music events. Used as a surveillance tool and paperless ticketing form, the technology is present at major venues like Madison Square Garden.

Back in 2018, Boston police leveraged face-scanning at a Taylor Swift show to detect the artist’s known stalkers. 

Many events have transformed into Orwellian spectacles. Invasion of privacy has become more prevalent, with biometric surveillance companies and venture capitalists swooping in to capitalize on music festivals’ market potential.


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