Fight for the Future


Facial recognition at music festivals: new scorecard shows which events have committed to not use invasive surveillance

Posted 22:33 EDT on September 22, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, September 23, 2019
Contact: Evan Greer, press@fightforthefuture.org, 978-852-6457

Tom Morello, Amanda Palmer, Nahko and Medicine for the People, Thievery Corporation, Atmosphere, Gramatik, Speedy Ortiz, The Glitch Mob, Downtown Boys among artists calling on festivals and venues to ban facial recognition

Digital rights group Fight for the Future has released a new scorecard showing where music festivals in the US stand when it comes to using facial recognition on fans. 

Major festivals like Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, Electric Forest, and Shambhala have issued statements making it clear they have no plans to use invasive and racially biased facial recognition technology. Paradiso Fest, Sonic Bloom, Summer Meltdown, Lucidity Festival and Punk Rock Bowling posted their commitment to not use the tech publicly. 

But several major festivals including SXSW, Coachella, Electric Daisy Carnival, and Pitchfork Music Festival––along with all properties of the major events conglomerate AEG Presents––did not respond to repeated requests from organizers, and have made no commitments, causing concern among fans that they may be currently experimenting with facial recognition or planning to use it in the future. 

Ticketmaster / LiveNation issued a statement confirming that it is not currently using facial recognition at its events, a positive step given that they previously invested in the technology. But troublingly, they explicitly left the door open to future use on an “opt in” basis, something security and human rights experts warn does not alleviate the concerns with mass collection of sensitive biometric information. Goldenvoice, who runs Coachella, gave a non-answer “we are not looking to add to this conversation at this time,” when asked to clarify their current policies and future plans regarding the use of facial recognition.

See the scorecard here: https://www.banfacialrecognition.com/festivals/new/#scorecard 

“The companies that run major festivals should not be experimenting on music fans by scanning our faces and collecting our biometric information,” said Evan Greer, Deputy Director of Fight for the Future (pronouns: she/her), “People deserve to know whether their favorite event has plans to use facial recognition technology. Experts say facial recognition is so dangerous it should be compared to nuclear or biological weapons. Festival organizers have a moral imperative to clearly commit to not using this invasive and racially biased technology on music fans. They should never put our safety and basic rights at risk just to collect our data and turn it into profit.”

Headlining artists like Tom Morello, Amanda Palmer, Nahko and Medicine for the People, Thievery Corporation, Gramatik, Anti-Flag, Atmosphere, Speedy Ortiz, Melissa Ferrick, The Glitch Mob, Downtown Boys, Laura Stevenson, Brian Fallon of Gaslight Anthem, Jeff Rosenstock, and B Dolan support the campaign, along with thousands of fans who have posted on social media and signed a petition. 

Facial recognition is not widespread at music events in the US. But Ticketmaster and other event companies have previously lauded their partnerships in the controversial technology, and even smaller bars and venues are experimenting with it. Reports show Madison Square Garden is already using facial recognition surveillance.

“I don’t want Big Brother at my shows targeting fans for harassment, deportation, or arrest. That’s why I’m joining this campaign calling on @Ticketmaster and others not to use #facialrecognition at festivals and concerts,” Tom Morello, legendary guitarist of Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave, and Prophets of Rage, tweeted in support of the campaign. 

“Facial recognition surveillance is uniquely dangerous. It doesn’t keep fans or artists safe, it just subjects them to invasive, racially biased monitoring that will inevitably lead to fans getting harassed, falsely arrested, deported, or worse,“ Fight for the Future’s Evan Greer added, "We’re calling on all artists, venues, festivals, and promoters to stick up for their fans’ basic rights and safety by speaking out against the use of Big Brother style biometric surveillance at live music events.”

The campaign is part of Fight for the Future’s broader BanFacialRecognition.com campaign, which has been endorsed by more than 30 major grassroots civil rights organizations including Greenpeace, Color of Change, Daily Kos, United We Dream, Council on American Islamic Relations, MoveOn, and Free Press. The groups are calling for local, state, and federal lawmakers to ban law enforcement use of facial recognition. Several cities have already banned the controversial technology outright, including  San Francisco, Somerville, MA, and Oakland, CA, and there is growing bipartisan support in Congress to address the issue at the federal level.

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UPDATED: Over 6,000 websites are joining the 'Digital Climate Strike' and thousands of employers lend their support

Posted 08:15 EDT on September 19, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 19, 2019

Contact: Shuo Peskoe-Yang, shuo@fightforthefuture.org, 757-376-1808

Nathalia Clark, nathalia@350.org, +55 61 991371229

Tumblr, Kickstarter, WordPress, Imgur, BitTorrent, are among the companies to support the Global Climate Strike.

Over 6,000 websites and companies are joining the Digital Climate Strike on September 20th, in response to the call-to-action from young people around the world.

Modeled after massive online protests like the SOPA strike and the Internet Slowdown for net neutrality, the Digital Climate Strike will raise visibility about the upcoming youth-led global climate strike. Many of these largest websites in the world are participating, such as Imgur, Tumblr, and Wordpress, by spreading the word on social media, donating ad space, or putting banners on their websites to announce the strikes. Some companies, like Burton, Lush, and Patagonia, will be taking more aggressive action, such as shutting down both their physical and online stores on September 20th and encouraging employees and customers to strike.

Websites can join by contacting Fight for the Future or by visiting the campaign landing page. See the landing page for the campaign here.

“From the SOPA blackout to net neutrality we’ve used the Internet to mobilize people on an unprecedented scale to achieve grassroots victories that were previously thought to be impossible,” said Evan Greer, Deputy Director of Fight for the Future, a digital rights organization that has been working with an ad hoc coalition of environmental groups, tech workers, and others to organize the Digital Climate Strike. “Politicians and lobbyists want us to think that solving the climate crisis is impossible. We need to channel the power of the Internet to turn the impossible into the inevitable. Our future depends on it.”

Youth around the world have been striking from school on Fridays, demanding action to stop the global climate crisis. These youth are calling for a mass mobilization on Friday, September 20th — three days ahead of a United Nations emergency climate summit — to move world governments to take emergency action and end the fossil fuel era. Over 1,700 strikes are planned in more than 150 countries to disrupt business as usual, and strikers are calling on everyone to join them.

While some companies, like Seventh Generation, Patagonia, and Atlassian are encouraging their employees to participate in the global strikes, many of the largest companies like Microsoft and Amazon have stayed silent. In response, their workers, however, have taken on their own initiative to walk out on September 20th to demonstrate their solidarity with youth strikers. In the case of Amazon, at least part of their action is directed at the company itself for its inaction to address the climate crisis. According to the Not Business As Usual coalition, over 2,000 employers around the world have allowed their workers to strike on September 20th.

“Climate change is the greatest crisis humanity has ever faced, and it will affect our generation the most,” said Alexandria Villaseñor, school striker and founder of Earth Uprising. “That’s why at the global climate strike on September 20th, youth must lead the way and demand climate action NOW from our world leaders!”

“This is the tipping point. Today’s youth are not fooled: their futures are being stolen before their very eyes by the fossil fuel industry and corrupt politicians. We’re joining them because we refuse to be bystanders while our children are left with an unlivable planet by our inaction,” said Shuo Peskoe-Yang, with Fight for the Future. “There is no room for neutrality. The children are calling on us, and the time to act is now.”

“Climate change is affecting everyone and it’s imperative that we continue to create and push those conversations,” said Bridget Kyeremateng, Tumblr’s Social Impact Lead. “Tumblr’s passionate and driven community is always eager to find ways that they can get involved in their communities and the Climate Strike is a great opportunity to take issues off the platform and onto the streets.” 

“In the digital era, the internet has democratized the connection between people all over the world. Similarly, the climate crisis also knows no borders. It affects everyone and is now the most urgent challenge of our time,” said Sarah Wilbore, Digital Engagement Director at 350.org. “We only have a few years to change things, and this will only be possible with participation and pressure from everyone: civil society, business and governments. We have a joint responsibility to contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and we can’t delay any further, it must start now.”

“Climate change is disrupting business as usual for everyone. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or how big your organization is. Our team cares deeply about this and our clients rely on us for responsible technology,” said Tim Frick CEO of Mightybytes. “Participating in the digital strike is one way for Mightybytes to let people know that addressing climate change is a priority for us.”

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Climate Crisis: Join the Climate Strike this Friday!

Posted 08:13 EDT on September 19, 2019

continuations:

The beginning of global climate strike is now only 2 days away. In New York City it starts noon on Friday at Foley Square with a 1pm march to Battery Park. Even if you cannot stay for the rally at Battery Park, everyone who has a lunch break should just use that to join the march! So: grab a sandwich and join. Details on the march here. Let’s make this bigger than anyone expects.

PS If you are wondering why, read my climate crisis posts. If you have time for just one, make it the Alien Invasion Analogy.

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Strike for the climate!

Posted 16:16 EDT on September 18, 2019

It’s time to strike for the climate. From September 20-27th, there will be strikes around the world for climate action.

To support them, we’ve launched a Digital Climate Strike to get some of the biggest websites on the Internet to raise visibility.

Add the strike to your Tumblr to spread the word! See the instructions here.

Ready to strike? Click here to find a strike near you.

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Ticketmaster still won’t commit to not using facial recognition on fans, and they’re lying about it

Posted 14:13 EDT on September 18, 2019
image

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 18, 2019
Contact: Evan Greer, press@fightforthefuture.org, 978-852-6457

Tom Morello, Amanda Palmer, Nahko and Medicine for the People, Thievery Corporation, Atmosphere, Gramatik, Speedy Ortiz, The Glitch Mob, Downtown Boys among artists opposing invasive surveillance at music events 

Last week, digital rights group Fight for the Future launched a new campaign mobilizing artists, music fans, and event organizers to oppose the use of facial recognition surveillance at music festivals, concerts, and events. The page highlights the fact that Ticketmaster / Live Nation has invested in a partnership with a company that makes facial recognition software, but the campaign calls on music festivals and promoters to commit to not using this invasive technology on fans.

Yesterday, a Live Nation representative told a reporter that Fight for the Future’s campaign is “misinformation,” and claimed that they had reached out to Fight for the Future to clarify their position. Today we can confirm that this is false. Fight for the Future has not received any communications from Live Nation about their investment in facial recognition technology, or their future plans to use it. 

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“It’s funny, I get a lot of spam emails from Live Nation about buying overpriced tickets for concerts that I’m not interested in, but I haven’t gotten a single email from them about this campaign, even though they’re telling reporters they’ve reached out to us,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future. 

Live Nation / Ticketmaster also shared this statement with reporters:

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Fight for the Future has the following response, which can be attributed to its Deputy Director, Evan Greer: 

“This is exactly the same talking point that we’re getting from the airline industry. If Live Nation / Ticketmaster isn’t planning to use facial recognition, then why not explicitly commit to that? Even if they only use it in an opt-in manner for entry to events, it still raises significant privacy and civil liberties concerns. And fans will still need to go through a physical search, so it’s not really saving anyone any time, it’s just an excuse to vacuum up lots of data on music fans. 

If Ticketmaster cares about protecting music fans safety and basic rights, they should make an explicit commitment to not use facial recognition at events, now or in the future. 

Once a private corporation like Ticketmaster has collected hundreds of thousands of people’s sensitive biometric information, there’s no telling what they could do with it. They could use it to track people around the festival in order to serve them targeted advertising. They could sell that data to other private companies or hand it over to government agencies like ICE or local police. Once biometric data is collected and stored in a database it’s vulnerable to attacks, like the Customs and Border Protection facial recognition database that was breached. 

As we’ve seen with the airlines, allowing fans to “opt out” of facial recognition doesn’t fix the problems inherent in the technology. Many fans might not be aware of the risks involved with opting in, and others may feel uncomfortable opting out for fear that it could subject them to additional screening.”

Live Nation / Ticketmaster’s claims that they have “no current plans” to use this technology are dubious without an explicit commitment. The original announcement from Blink Identity, the facial recognition company they have partnered with, reads “Plans include the use of Blink’s walking-speed biometric solution at venues to facilitate admission to live shows and more.

At least one sports venue in the UK, which is owned by Live Nation / Ticketmaster, is reportedly planning to use facial recognition as well, casting the company’s statement in further doubt.”

See the original “Ban Facial Recognition at Festivals” campaign page here: https://www.banfacialrecognition.com/festivals

Headlining artists like Tom Morello, Amanda Palmer, Nahko and Medicine for the People, Thievery Corporation, Gramatik, Anti-Flag, Atmosphere, Speedy Ortiz, The Glitch Mob, Downtown Boys, Laura Stevenson, Brian Fallon of Gaslight Anthem, and B Dolan support the campaign, and Washington’s USC Events, the producers of Paradiso Festival, are among the first to commit to not use the technology along with Punk Rock Bowling festival in Las Vegas. 

Ticketmaster and other event companies laud their partnerships in the controversial technology, and even smaller bars and venues are experimenting with it. Reports show Madison Square Garden is already using facial recognition surveillance.

“I don’t want Big Brother at my shows targeting fans for harassment, deportation, or arrest. That’s why I’m joining this campaign calling on @Ticketmaster and others not to use #facialrecognition at festivals and concerts,” Tom Morello, legendary guitarist of Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave, and Prophets of Rage, tweeted in support of the campaign. 

“Facial recognition surveillance is uniquely dangerous. It doesn’t keep fans or artists safe, it just subjects them to invasive, racially biased monitoring that will inevitably lead to fans getting harassed, falsely arrested, deported, or worse,“ said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future (pronouns: she/her), "We’re calling on all artists to stick up for their fans’ basic rights and safety by speaking out against the use of Big Brother style biometric surveillance at live music events.”

The campaign is part of Fight for the Future’s broader BanFacialRecognition.com campaign, which has been endorsed my more than 30 major grassroots civil rights organizations including Greenpeace, Color of Change, Daily Kos, United We Dream, Council on American Islamic Relations, MoveOn, and Free Press. The groups are calling for local, state, and federal lawmakers to ban law enforcement use of facial recognition.

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