Was facial recognition technology used to track Taylor Swift fans?

It has been confirmed that a stadium in Los Angeles has employed facial recognition software to help identify potential troublemakers attending sports and music events.

Speaking on the news website, Gizmodo, LA’s famous Rose Bowl said that the technology is used beyond and within the stadium parameters. The confession followed a feature in Rolling Stone magazine which divulged Taylor Swift fans had been scanned at a concert at the Pasadena venue as part of campaign to root out stalkers.

The iconic music publication says attendees of the Swift gig were directed towards a booth where they could watch unreleased footage of the star. However, the booth allegedly recorded fans and paired images with a database of known Swift stalkers.

The accusation has been levelled by the chief technology officer of a firm named Oak View Group, who told Rolling Stone that he had witnessed the crime-busting software in operation, the BBC reports. The company behind the technology was not named and no statements have been released by Oak View Group, or Taylor Swift’s team.

The Rose Bowl has confirmed facial recognition is used at the north LA venue to bolster security but insists that the tech-tactics are clearly signposted. No further details have emerged on the booth used at the Taylor Swift concert.

Further Afield
Wembley Stadium in north-west London has said that it does not employ facial recognition at its events, unlike a venue in China, where the wizardry was used to apprehended a man earlier this year who was wanted for “economic crimes”.

The Tokyo Olympic Games 2020 will be relying on the methodology as part of a drive to eliminate fans entering sports arenas and Olympic concourses with fake tickets.
While this may root out criminals and cut down on the number of those who cheat the system, the campaign group Big Brother Watch asserts that the technology impinges on human rights.

Back in the UK, the Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham has said that police must work to alleviate privacy concerns related to facial recognition systems, at the risk of facing regulatory penalties.


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