“Rage Against the Machine” joins the fight against face recognition

Over 100 artists and venues are joining forces to advocate for the banning of facial recognition technology at live events.

The boycott, spearheaded by the digital rights advocacy group Fight for the Future, is a resolute call to ban the use of face-scanning technology at live events.

The activists express deep concerns regarding the infringement of privacy and the potential for increased discrimination of marginalized groups associated with face recognition technology. According to them, the risks of the technology outweigh its benefits.

Over 100 artists, including renowned figures like Tom Morello and Zack de la Rocha from Rage Against the Machine, Boots Riley, and Speedy Ortiz, have announced they’ll join the boycott of concert venues employing facial recognition technology.

Several independent concert venues across the US, including the House of Yes in Brooklyn, the Lyric Hyperion in Los Angeles, and Black Cat in Washington, D.C., have pledged their commitment to refrain from utilizing facial recognition technology during their shows.

“Surveillance tech companies are pitching biometric data tools as ‘innovative’ and helpful for increasing efficiency and security. Not only is this false, it’s morally corrupt. Whether it’s in the form of ticketing, payments, or actual surveillance, facial recognition at live events poses enormous risks to fans, workers, and performers,” states Leila Nashashibi, Campaigner at Fight for the Future, in her blog post.

Nashashibi highlights the technology's inaccuracy and its potential to cause harm and issues due to misidentification and other technical flaws.

“As we fight to pass legislation in the New York City Council and New York State Senate that would prohibit the use of facial recognition in public places, there are immediate steps that artists, venues, and fans can take towards ending the spread of this dangerous technology in the entertainment industry – like the pledge – and all of us have the responsibility to act,” she says.

Rising concerns about using face recognition

The use of facial recognition technology has sparked growing controversy. Madison Square Garden Entertainment faced scrutiny for utilizing the technology to kick lawyers involved in ongoing lawsuits against the company out of an event.

Also, face recognition technology helps to deepen the human rights crisis. There are claims that Iran is using face recognition to prosecute Iranian women for violating hijab laws. Women claim to have received mail citations for violating the law without warning or any face-to-face interaction with law enforcement.

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