A collective of more than 100 music artists, including Tom Morello and Zack de la Rocha from Rage Against the Machine, has joined forces to declare a boycott against concert venues that utilize facial recognition technology. Rolling Stone originally reported this development, highlighting the artists’ concerns about privacy infringement and increased discrimination.
The boycott is spearheaded by Fight for the Future, a digital rights advocacy group that aims to completely eradicate face-scanning technology from all live events. Alongside the founding members of Rage Against the Machine, numerous other artists, including Speedy Ortiz, Anti-Flag, Boots Riley, and Deerhoof, among others, have pledged their support. The complete list of participating artists can be found here.
In addition to the artists, several venues have also joined the cause, promising not to employ this controversial technology for their events. Among these venues are House of Yes in Brooklyn, the Lyric Hyperion in Los Angeles, and the notorious Black Cat in Washington D.C. Furthermore, over 40 prominent music festivals, such as Coachella and SXSW, have recently vowed to discontinue the use of facial recognition technology.
Fight for the Future issued a statement denouncing facial scanning companies as “morally corrupt” and criticizing the inherent inaccuracies of facial recognition tools, which they argue create more harm than they solve. While acknowledging the flaws of this technology, the organization expresses concern about an impending world devoid of privacy, where constant identification, surveillance, and monitoring become the norm.
While proponents of facial recognition technology highlight its potential benefits, such as Taylor Swift’s recent use of the technology to identify potential stalkers during her concerts, there are already instances of its misuse. Madison Square Garden (MSG), for example, has implemented the technology to identify and ban lawyers involved in lawsuits against the venue and its affiliates.
The forceful removal of several attorneys from MSG and Radio City Music Hall in recent months has prompted an inquiry by New York Attorney General Letitia James. Additionally, the New York State Liquor Authority has initiated proceedings to revoke the liquor licenses of Madison Square Garden Entertainment, the parent company of MSG, as reported by the New York Post. MSG has responded by suing the state and defending their position, stating that litigation inherently fosters an adversarial environment.
While MSG has received the majority of attention in this regard, other large venues across the country, including Citi Field in New York, FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, and Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, have also embraced Orwellian practices, highlighting the prevalence of this issue.
Fight for the Future, together with Morello and artists like Speedy Ortiz, has previously achieved success with similar boycotts. In 2022, Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver discontinued the use of Amazon’s palm-reading technology following a protest organized by the advocacy group.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about facial recognition boycott
What is the purpose of the boycott organized by over 100 artists?
The purpose of the boycott is to protest against concert venues that use facial recognition technology. The artists are concerned about privacy infringement and increased discrimination, and they aim to eliminate the use of face-scanning technology at all live events.
Who organized the boycott?
The boycott was organized by a digital rights advocacy group called Fight for the Future.
Which artists are participating in the boycott?
Over 100 artists are participating in the boycott, including Tom Morello and Zack de la Rocha from Rage Against the Machine, Speedy Ortiz, Anti-Flag, Boots Riley, and Deerhoof, among others. The full list of participating artists can be found in the article.
Are any venues supporting the boycott?
Yes, some venues have pledged not to use facial recognition technology for their events. These venues include House of Yes in Brooklyn, the Lyric Hyperion in Los Angeles, and the Black Cat in Washington D.C.
How many music festivals have vowed to stop using facial recognition technology?
Over 40 big-time music festivals, including Coachella and SXSW, have recently vowed to discontinue the use of facial recognition technology.
What concerns does Fight for the Future have regarding facial scanning companies?
Fight for the Future considers facial scanning companies to be “morally corrupt.” They argue that facial recognition tools are highly inaccurate and create more harm and problems than they solve. The organization is worried about a future without privacy, where constant identification and surveillance are ubiquitous.
What misuse of facial recognition technology has been reported?
Madison Square Garden (MSG) has used facial recognition technology to identify and ban lawyers involved in lawsuits against the venue. This has led to attorneys being forcibly removed from MSG and Radio City Music Hall. New York Attorney General Letitia James has launched an inquiry into these incidents.
Have similar boycotts been successful in the past?
Yes, Fight for the Future, along with artists like Tom Morello and Speedy Ortiz, have achieved success with similar boycotts in the past. For example, Denver’s Red Rocks Amphitheater discontinued the use of Amazon’s palm-reading technology following a protest organized by the advocacy group.
More about facial recognition boycott
- Rolling Stone: Over 100 Artists Boycott Venues that Employ Face-Scanning Tech
- Fight for the Future
- [List of Participating Artists](link to the full list)
- [House of Yes](link to House of Yes website)
- [Lyric Hyperion](link to Lyric Hyperion website)
- [Black Cat](link to Black Cat website)
- [Madison Square Garden](link to Madison Square Garden website)
- [New York Attorney General Letitia James](link to Letitia James’ official website)
- [New York State Liquor Authority](link to New York State Liquor Authority website)
- [Red Rocks Amphitheater](link to Red Rocks Amphitheater website)
- [Coachella](link to Coachella website)
- [SXSW](link to SXSW website)