Facial recognition software is controversial, with much of the
debate centring on how the collected data will be exploited.
In 2018, Rolling Stone magazine alleged that pop singer
Taylor Swift’s security team was not only using facial recognition
technology to root out stalkers, but also to capture data for
promotion and marketing.
At Swift’s shows, ISM Connect installed cameras behind kiosks
marked as selfie stations. The hidden cameras scanned the facial
features of fans interacting with the screens. The company said
the cameras were being used “to identify persons of interest for
security purposes”. But it also admitted that the smart screens
delivered demographic information and metrics to help
promoters design marketing campaigns. A facial-recognition
camera inside the display was taking photos and the images
were transferred to a command post where they were crossreferenced
with a database of the singer’s known stalkers.
Despite the privacy concerns about who owns the pictures
and how long they can be kept on file, facial recognition
technology is increasingly popular in stadia and auditoria.
For example, in 2018 Ticketmaster invested in Blink Identity,
a start-up that claims its sensors can identify people walking
past at full speed in about half a second.
the stipulations of the Private Security Industry
Act 2001. These regulations do not have to apply
to in-house staff, with the exception of bouncers.
“Security regulation is much less detailed
than for health and safety,” explains Bluestone.
“In the UK we have the Health and Safety at
Work etc. Act of 1974 and whole libraries of
other regulations. But for security in the UK,
and around the world, including the USA, there
is nothing that explicitly forces performing arts
venues to introduce levels of security.”
However, he adds that it’s misleading to
think venues are not under pressure to keep
visitors safe. “It goes back to the broader issue
of corporate governance,” says Bluestone. “Any
auditorium with any sense will have a security
plan because otherwise the insurers and courts
will say they are not following best practice.” n
AUDITORIA 2020 VOLUME ONE 47