Blink Identity has claimed that its facial recognition ticketless entry system is not invasive following a public campaign against the biometric technology.
The Texas-based company’s chief executive and co-founder Mary Haskett said it is in support of implementing government restrictions on how the identity data is used and stored, and wants concert-goers to understand that biometric ticketing systems do not have to be invasive.
Last month, digital rights advocacy group Fight For the Future (FFTF) called on Ticketmaster and its parent company Live Nation to ban facial recognition at its concert venues and festivals. The campaign said the tech could incite police harassment, misidentification and discrimination thanks to what it dubs “Big Brother-style biometric surveillance.”
The live entertainment and ticketing giants responded that they do not “currently have plans to deploy facial recognition” at its venues, and that any future use would be “strictly opt-in.”
Haskett told Biometric Update: “Like FFTF, we are very vocal in our support for restrictions on how government agencies use identity technology — and that’s *any* identity technology.
“We are the only company I’m aware of that has created a system that puts individuals completely in control of their data and how it is used.
“This gives you access to the Blink Identity VIP lane at select venues so you can walk right in without standing in line. Users have total transparency to their data and the ability to delete all of it if they want. We think user data belongs to the user. We hold it for the user and only use it for a single authorised purpose.
“First and foremost, we don’t connect to other data sources. We can only identify people who have enrolled into Blink Identity by sending us their selfie photograph.”
Haskett also noted that everyone in Blink’s database is there because they have explicitly opted in. This gives users access to Blink Identity VIP lanes at select event venues, so fans can enter by walking straight in.
Last month, FFTF released a list of music festivals that have pledged to never employ facial recognition for ticketing or security purposes at their events. It also highlighted festivals, primarily across the US, that have said they “might use” the technology in the future, or that have refused to commit to a complete ban.
Music festivals such as Shambala, Bonnaroo and Austin City Limits have “made a clear commitment to not use facial recognition on fans,” while the likes of Boston Calling, Coachella and Lollapalooza have “refused to commit,” meaning that they might use this technology now or in the future.