Live event producers: Don't use facial recognition in the name of covid safety!

Event producers

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People are now getting COVID-19 vaccinations, which is great. As more and more people are vaccinated it will soon be possible for live events to reopen safely. But there is no reason for these events to use facial recognition surveillance to gobble up fans’ private data in the name of safety.

Event producers are considering different tools to reopen safely (including vaccine passports). While we do not have all the answers about how different tools could work, we do know one thing for certain: events must put patron safety first and absolutely should not use facial recognition or other privacy-compromising technology at concerts and other live events.

Facial recognition is wildly inaccurate at identifying and differentiating between people of color, discriminates against people with disabilities, and consistently misidentifies women and nonbinary people. Any use of this racist technology is unacceptable - especially since the data from surveillance systems are often shared with law enforcement, which puts Black and brown event attendees in disproportionate danger. Invasive surveillance does not make anyone safer, and it will always endanger marginalized people.

In addition, databases of biometric, medical, and personal data are often targets of hackers and people who want to do harm. There is no legal standard for protecting this type of sensitive data—so greedy surveillance vendors will likely do the bare minimum in order to maximize profit.

Tell event promoters and ticket companies to put privacy first and to commit to not using facial recognition!

LETTER TEXT

Event producers,

Surveilling fans and invading their privacy via “hands free” biometric technology like facial recognition is not necessary to bring back live events. Many unethical companies are eager to use reopening as an excuse for collecting massive amounts of sensitive personal data and I am calling on you to protect your patrons from these harmful practices.

Since the start of the pandemic, surveillance technology has been marketed as a “solution” for almost everything, but these technologies are false and often wildly inaccurate. The truth is that they will always endanger marginalized people—especially if (or when) data is shared with law enforcement. As a fan, requiring invasive surveillance or data collection just to attend an event would have a major negative impact on my experience, and it could reduce my likelihood of attending events.

Surveillance is always, always dangerous. It gathers data that is targeted by hackers, and it risks the safety of everyone involved. Participating in risky, creepy data collection in order to attend an event should never be accepted as normal. We implore you to consult with third party privacy and racial justice organizations before deciding on any so-called solution that involves data collection, and to absolutely not collect any biometric data.

Put all of your fans first when you make your reopening decisions—the wrong choice could have significant unintended consequences that cause real harm, especially to BIPOC, immigrant, and nonbinary attendees.



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To: Event producers
From: [Your Name]

Event producers,

Surveilling fans and invading their privacy via “hands free” biometric technology like facial recognition is not necessary to bring back live events. Many unethical companies are eager to use reopening as an excuse for collecting massive amounts of sensitive personal data and I am calling on you to protect your patrons from these harmful practices.

Since the start of the pandemic, surveillance technology has been marketed as a “solution” for almost everything, but these technologies are false and often wildly inaccurate. The truth is that they will always endanger marginalized people—especially if (or when) data is shared with law enforcement. As a fan, requiring invasive surveillance or data collection just to attend an event would have a major negative impact on my experience, and it could reduce my likelihood of attending events.

Surveillance is always, always dangerous. It gathers data that is targeted by hackers, and it risks the safety of everyone involved. Participating in risky, creepy data collection in order to attend an event should never be accepted as normal. We implore you to consult with third party privacy and racial justice organizations before deciding on any so-called solution that involves data collection, and to absolutely not collect any biometric data.

Put all of your fans first when you make your reopening decisions—the wrong choice could have significant unintended consequences that cause real harm, especially to BIPOC, immigrant, and nonbinary attendees.