Coachella, Bonnaroo, Other Major Festivals Join Campaign to Ban Facial Recognition

Launched by the Fight For The Future collective, the campaign aims to precipitate a ban of "invasive surveillance tech" at music festivals and concert venues.

The expression "I've got my eye on you" may soon need an update: "We've got your eyes in our database." 

A collective of human rights groups, musicians and fans called Fight For The Future has launched a vigorous campaign to ban facial recognition technology at music festivals and concerts.

Citing numerous privacy concerns surrounding the use of biometric palm-scanning and facial recognition at live music events, the coalition has already convinced 40 large festivals to pledge they will not use the technology at their events, Engadget reports. These include Coachella, Bonnaroo and SXSW.

An Amazon One biometric scanning device.


The tech is already being used by Madison Square Garden. The famed New York City arena has reportedly used facial recognition technology to ban attorneys suing them for its implementation.

"This is punitive as opposed to protective," Adam Schwartz, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told The New York Times in January 2023. "It sets a precedent for other businesses to identify their critics and punish them. It raises the question of what's going to come next. Will companies use facial recognition to keep out all the people who have picketed the business or criticized them online with a negative Yelp review?" 

Fight For The Future's campaign is now calling on more fans, venues and artists to sign their pledge to ban facial recognition festivals and concert venues. 

"We want everyone to feel safe and welcome at shows," the pledge reads, "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." 

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