As facial recognition technology begins to become more widely used, the security question continues to concern industry experts.

Tim Chambers, advisor and consultant in the ticketing and live entertainment business, told TheTicketingBusiness he has doubts about the technology’s uses in the live entertainment industry, primarily due to the question of data security.

“The technology requires the recognition of the face against the central database, and if I don’t trust firms with my credit card details, how am I going to with my face?” Chambers said.

“There’s a lot of complication and incremental costs with facial recognition. What’s the gain for the venues and ticketing firms, and who’s going to pay for it?

“It’s been hard enough for venues to introduce scanners that use barcodes, NFC, RFID and so on… it’s all taken years.

“At Wembley this weekend, the scanner took five attempts to read my ticket. What happens when it wants to read my face? Automated systems at TSA often don’t work and that’s at national borders. What happens when it gets to a 2,000-capacity venue.. who’s going to pay for the technology to implement such a system?”

However, Chambers did note that facial recognition is looking for a market and thinks that it will have a role to play in some sectors, some of the time.

Meanwhile, Panos Moutafis of biometrics and facial recognition firm Zenus said the process is clear and much safer than people think. He added that people’s data is being handled properly, as it would be with any registration

“You opt into an email…it’s just one more box to check,” he said at Launchpad and Start-up Stage at Event Tech Live.

Zenus’ website states: “We care a lot about the security and privacy of the end users. To safeguard your data, we use compliant cloud service providers and use strict security protocols.

“Specifically, we never receive personally identifiable information such as names and emails. Instead, the registration platforms send anonymised and fully encrypted images to us.

“The images are deleted immediately upon extracting the face geometries and all meta data are also deleted right after the event.”

Moutafis also noted that he thinks Zenus is close to implementing facial recognition, with pilot programmes of events up to 25,000 people on the horizon.

“You should always have an opt out (in ticketing)… even if only one person wants to opt out… there needs to be a plan B to manually check people in,” he said when asked whether facial recognition would ever fully replace ticketing.

He continued: “It’s never 100 per cent accurate. Biometrics are never going to be 100 per cent accurate.

“On replacing tickets…I’m not sure, we will see. I don’t want to make a bold prediction.”

Image: Screenshot from Zenus video