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Musicians Boycott Venues That Use Facial Recognition Technology on Audience

Some musicians are pushing back.

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In a show of solidarity against the proliferation of facial recognition technology at concert venues, an ensemble of over 100 musicians and bands, including Rage Against the Machine’s co-founders Tom Morello and Zack de la Rocha, have united to boycott venues employing the contentious technology. Boots Riley, Speedy Ortiz, Anti-Flag, Wheatus, Downtown Boys, and a chorus of over 80 additional artists are joining this resolute harmony, Rolling Stone reported.

Spearheaded by the watchdog collective Fight for the Future, this boycott is an outcry for a total ban on face-scanning tech during live performances. Its call hasn’t gone unnoticed; a melodic trio of independent venues, House of Yes in Brooklyn, Lyric Hyperion in Los Angeles, and Black Cat in D.C., have struck a chord by promising not to utilize this technology at their gigs.

Leila Nashashibi, a valiant campaigner at Fight for the Future, conveyed the dissonance. “Surveillance tech companies are pitching biometric data tools as ‘innovative’ and helpful for increasing efficiency and security. Not only is this false, it’s morally corrupt,” she stated. She warned against the inaccuracy of the technology and the horrifying prospect of a world under flawless facial surveillance.

An increasing discordance surrounds the use of facial recognition technology at concert venues, which has crescendoed following Madison Square Garden Entertainment’s use of the technology to evict lawyers involved in lawsuits against the company.

Madison Square Garden (MSG), in particular, struck a nerve when Kelly Conlon, an attorney, was ousted from a concert due to her law firm’s litigation against MSG.

MSG remains steadfast, arguing that their policy is logical and the technology does not retain images except for individuals previously informed of a ban or identified as security risks.

However, this has not gone without legal repercussions. New York Attorney General Letitia James sought information on MSG’s usage of facial recognition technology, urging them to reconsider their stance. MSG’s liquor license even faced a threat of revocation by the State Liquor Authority, to which the venue responded with legal action.

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