More than 100 Singers and Entertainers Sign Pledge to Boycott Venues Using Face-Scanning Tech on Audiences

Tom Morello of Prophets of Rage performs onstage at KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas 2017 at
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for KROQ

More than 100 singers and entertainers have signed a pledge to boycott concert halls and arenas that use face-scanning technology on audiences.

According to Stereogum, artists including Tom Morello (pictured above), Zack De La Rocha, Boots Riley, Wheatus, Anti-Flag, have signed the pledge.

The pledge was crafted by a group called Fight For The Future, which describes itself as a “a group of artists, engineers, activists, and technologists who have been behind the largest online protests in human history, channeling Internet outrage into political power to win public interest victories previously thought to be impossible. We fight for a future where technology is a force for liberation— not oppression.”

The group is calling for a ban on facial recognition at all live events in the wake of news that New York City’s Madison Square Garden is using facial recognition “to identify, harass, and ban people from his venues.”

In Dec. of last year, a Girl Scout’s mother was booted from Radio City Music Hall after the venue decided she was a problem due to ongoing legal issues with her law firm.

“This invasive biometric surveillance isn’t safe, especially for Black and brown people who have been falsely arrested or ejected from public places due to the tech’s baked-in discrimination,” the group says on its website describing the pledge.

“In recent years, a coalition of musicians, fans, and human rights groups successfully got more than 40 of the world’s largest music festivals, including Bonnaroo and Coachella, to say they won’t use facial recognition at events. But now this tech is starting to spread–not only as a surveillance tool, but also as a form of ‘paperless’ ticketing and payment,” the group added.

“Artists, venues, and fans: you have a choice when it comes to the technology that’s present at live events. Pledge now to help us fight it,” they concluded.

The group has one previous victory under its belt. In 2019 it convinced several venues to pledge not to use facial recognition in the future.

Facial recognition has been a topic of concern in far more places than just concert venues. Recently, Congressman Jim Jordan warned the Transportation Security Administration not to use Chinese-styled facial recognition at the nation’s airports.

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