Ticketmaster envisions a future wherein you no longer need either a physical or a digital ticket to get into a venue. Its parent company Live Nation, has announced that the ticket sales giant has teamed up with and invested in a face recognition company called Blink Identity. In its first quarter financial report (PDF), Live Nation has explained that Blink has "cutting-edge facial recognition technology, enabling you to associate your digital ticket with your image, then just walk into the show." According to Blink's website, its system can register an image of your face as soon as you walk past a sensor. Blink's technology can then match it against a large database in half a second -- in a blink, so to speak.
One day after the President of the United States proclaimed the new holiday of state "Loyalty Day," a conglomerate has made an announcement about its ability to track the faces and movements of its millions of IRL customers. Live Nation, the parent company of Ticketmaster, announced on its Q1 investor call that it would be introducing facial recognition technology into its venues. We will continue investing in new technologies to further differentiate Ticketmaster from others in the ticketing business. With this facial recognition technology, event-goers would not need to scan a digital or paper ticket. They would just walk into the venue.
Ticketmaster has quietly revealed plans to use facial recognition technology in venues to facilitate admission to live shows and more. The rollout constitutes part of a trial that follows the ticketing giant's investment in Blink Identity, an Austin, Texas-based startup that participated in the TechStars music accelerator program earlier this year. Ticketmaster's plans were revealed as part of parent company Live Nation's Q1 2018 earnings: We will continue investing in new technologies to further differentiate Ticketmaster from others in the ticketing business. It is very notable that today we announce our partnership with, and investment in, Blink Identity, which has cutting-edge facial recognition technology, enabling you to associate your digital ticket with your image, then just walk into the show. Blink Identity's platform basically allows a venue to identify people using their facial biometrics without requiring them to stop and stand in front of a lens.
Football supporters and civil rights activists have expressed anger and concern over the use of facial recognition technology for a derby match in south Wales. Two surveillance vans kitted out with the controversial technology were seen patrolling around Cardiff City's stadium before the club's game against Swansea City on Sunday. Some fans donned masks, wore sunglasses and hoods or wrapped scarves around their faces to disguise their appearances. A protest organised by the campaign group Big Brother Watch and Cardiff City supporters' club took place outside the stadium before kick-off and a banner was unfurled inside the stadium during the Championship game reading: "No facial recognition." "It feels as if our rights are being taken away," said Anthony Moore, a former soldier and a Cardiff fan for more than 40 years.
Privacy campaigners have warned of an "epidemic" of facial recognition use in shopping centres, museums, conference centres and other private spaces around the UK. An investigation by Big Brother Watch (BBW), which tracks the use of surveillance, has found that private companies are spearheading a rollout of the controversial technology. The group published its findings a day after the information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, announced she was opening an investigation into the use of facial recognition in a major new shopping development in central London. Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, has already raised questions about the legality of the use of facial recognition at the 27-hectare (67-acre) Granary Square site in King's Cross after its owners admitted using the technology "in the interests of public safety". BBW said it had uncovered that sites across the country were using facial recognition, often without warning visitors.