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Ticketmaster could replace tickets with facial recognition

There is basically no way that this could be a bad idea

Imagine a future where gigs don’t have tickets. Instead, you queue in line, and as you approach the venue you’ll automatically have your face scanned and identified. Sounds like hell, right? Well, this dystopian vision of the future could soon become a reality – as The Verge reports, Ticketmaster parent company Live Nation Entertainment have announced an investment with Blink Identity, a biometric identification company specialising in facial recognition.

No plans for Live Nation’s partnership with Blink Identity have been formally revealed yet, but when announcing the partnership in a note to investors, Live Nation President and CEO Michael Rapino said that Blink Identity “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 website outlines some of the uses of their technology in live venues: “Powered by our proprietary military grade software, the Blink Identity security gateway allows venue or festival management to identify people using facial biometrics as they walk at full speed past our sensor, handling over 60 people a minute. Snap, ID, admit. Once inside, concertgoers can  use their face – literally – to buy drinks, swag, enter VIP areas, and more.”

More hauntingly, it adds: “It’s also possible to collect usable and sharable data on each person that walks through our biometric entry gateway.”

As The Verge notes, Ticketmaster would have to create a database of customers’ faces in order to implement this technology. It’s incredibly cool and healthy when opaque, oversightless private corporations are in control of vast amounts of people’s personal information, and as we’ve learned from recent scandals like Cambridge Analytica, there is basically no way that this data might end up in the wrong hands.

The founders of Blink Identity have a history working with the US military, with “over a decade of experience designing, developing, and deploying large scale biometric identification systems internationally for the Department of Defense,” according to their website. The site’s ‘Privacy First’ section pre-emptively answers questions such as “Are we being ethical?” and “Are we being responsible?”, which is very reassuring.

On the plus side, it might keep the touts out.