Artists Boycott Venues Using Facial Recognition

Controversy is brewing based on the use of facial recognition technology in entertainment venues, and leading artists are boycotting.

Digital rights advocacy Fight for the Future called for face-scanning technology to be banned at all live events.

The issue came to a proverbial head when Madison Square Entertainment and James Dolan used the tech to kick out lawyers affiliated with ongoing lawsuits against the company.

According to MSG, the facial recognition technology system does not retain images of individuals, except those who were previously advised they are prohibited from entering the venues or whose previous misconduct makes them a security risk.

Also in New York, Citi Field uses the tech, as do Cleveland’s FirstEnergy Stadium, Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, and the Pechanga Arena in San Diego, among others. Taylor Swift’s security used it to identify and ban her known stalkers.

The argument against it states that the risks of use for corporate, vindictive, and/or potentially racist purposes outweigh the benefits of spotting and barring undesirables.

According to Rolling Stone, musicians are boycotting venues that use face-scanning technologies. Over 100 artists are joining the boycott, including Rage Against the Machine founders Tom Morello and Zack de la Rocha, Boots Riley and Speedy Ortiz, Wheatus, and Kimya Dawson. The House of Yes in Brooklyn, the Lyric Hyperion in Los Angeles, and Black Cat in D.C. pledged not to use facial recognition for their shows.

Artists, venues, and fans can pledge to the cause on

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