Tom Morello, Amanda Palmer, Downtown Boys campaign against facial recognition at festivals and concerts

“I don’t want Big Brother at my shows”

Tom Morello, Amanda Palmer and Downtown Boys are just some of the musicians who’ve joined a coalition advocating facial recognition surveillance be banned from festivals and concerts.

The campaign was launched by US-based digital rights group Fight for the Future on Tuesday (September 10). It calls on fans, artists, festivals and venues to oppose the use of facial recognition technology in live music settings.

The advocacy effort comes after news that Ticketmaster has invested in facial recognition tech, “which puts undocumented fans, fans of colour, trans fans and fans with criminal records at risk of being unjustly detained, harassed or judged,” the campaign’s website reads. Fight for the Future also notes that “even smaller bars and venues have been experimenting with” facial recognition.

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Music fans should feel safe and respected at festivals and shows, not subjected to invasive biometric surveillance. Today we're launching a new campaign mobilizing artists, fans, and promoters to oppose the use of #facialrecognition at live music events. There's no evidence that using #FacialRecognition at festivals and concerts will keep fans safe. In fact, studies repeatedly show that mass surveillance is largely ineffective at preventing violent crimes. And the technology is currently far from accurate. If #facialrecognition is used widely at large scale events, it will put fans of color, immigrant fans, trans fans, and others at high risk of being stopped, harassed, searched, or even worse falsely arrested or deported. That's not keeping fans safe, that's putting them in danger. We're calling on all artists to speak out & oppose the use of #facialrecognition at their performances. We're calling on fans to sign a petition and tweet at their favorite artists asking them to join. We're calling on festivals and promoters to commit to no face surveillance at their events. Join us & take action at

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Other musicians and bands that have joined Fight for the Future’s campaign against facial recognition surveillance are Thievery Corporation, Anti-Flag, Gramatik, The Glitch Mob, Brian Fallon of The Gaslight Anthem, Laura Stevenson, Nahko and Medicine for the People, and B Dolan. Summer Meltdown, a music festival in Darrington, Washington, has also committed to not using facial recognition technology.

Many of the above acts have taken to social media to spread the word about the campaign. See some of their statements below:

Last year, it was reported that Live Nation Entertainment – the parent company of Ticketmaster – was partnering with a company called Blink Identity. The Austin, Texas-based startup “has cutting-edge facial recognition technology, enabling you to associate your digital ticket with your image, then just walk into the show,” Live Nation’s president/CEO Michael Rapino told investors at the time.