Critics voice concerns over Taylor Swift installing facial recognition software at her stadium show

The camera was hidden inside a display kiosk

Taylor Swift used facial recognition software during one of her shows this year in an attempt to combat stalkers who have sent her death threats.

The pop star has long suffered from a number of stalkers, with one arrested outside her home earlier this year and another sentenced to 10 years probation. A third, who reportedly entered her apartment building in New York City, was deemed psychologically unfit to stand trial.

Now according to a report by Rolling Stone, Swift’s team installed facial recognition cameras at her show at the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles on May 18, 2018. The camera was reportedly hidden inside a display kiosk and those who stopped to look at the display had their picture taken.


Those images were then sent to a “command post” in Nashville, where they were cross-referenced with other photos of the star’s known stalkers.

Representatives for Swift are yet to respond to claims that the fans may not have known about the cameras. It’s also unclear who owns the photos of the fans who stopped by the kiosk.

Mike Downing, chief security officer of Oak View Group, an advisory board for concert venues, claimed that the software was used at Swift’s concert. “Everybody who went by would stop and stare at it, and the software would start working,” he said.

Downing was at the concert to watch a demo of the system as a guest of the company that manufactures the kiosks.


Rolling Stone added that Ticketmaster employed similar security software with startup company Blink Identity. The company’s sensors help venues identify people and assist in traffic issues.

Justin Burleigh, Ticketmaster’s chief product officer, said: “It holds a lot of promise. We’re just being very careful about where and how we implement it.”

Mary Haskett, co-founder of Blink Identity software, said that the software should be something that users opt into. “We wanted to do something with a lot of respect to privacy and turn this into something people can use to make life easier,” she said.

Haskett added that opting-in would help with convenience, and Blink Identity is considering using the facial recognition technology for the purpose of VIP guestlist recognition.

But American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) senior policy analyst Jay Stanley told The Guardian yesterday (December 14) that he questions the ethics of the technology. “This does have larger implications. It is not about this one deployment, it is about where this is technology is headed.

“It is generally the wild west when it comes to the use of this technology.”

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift

In addition, Jennifer Lynch from Electronic Frontier Foundation, told The Guardian that Swift “would be subject to any of the number of breach notification laws across the country and potentially subject to class action litigation” depending on how personal identity data is stored – and how that could be breached.

Meanwhile, Swift is set to drop a special concert film based on her recent ‘Reputation’ stadium tour on Netflix at the end of the year.

Announcing the news on Thursday (December 13), Swift took to Twitter to drop a trailer and reveal its December 31st release date.

The movie highlights the expansive stage production of the 2018 tour, which promoted Swift’s sixth LP, 2017’s Reputation.

The show included pyrotechnics, fireworks, multiple stages and a 63-foot cobra.

Last month, Swift was also named as the “most influential” Twitter user of 2018 – despite only tweeting 13 times this year.