Pittsburgh punk band Anti-Flag has signed on to a letter protesting the use of Amazon One Palm Recognition technology at concerts.
The devices – which are being launched at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado by Amazon, ticketing company AXS and promoter AEG – will allow concertgoers to enter the venue by scanning their palm rather than a ticket.
The letter – which has been endorsed by more than 200 artists, including Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill, Deerhoof, Downtown Boys and Mannequin Pussy – calls for a ban on the use of biometric technology, citing privacy concerns.
”For many of us, concerts and live events are some of the most memorable and enjoyable experiences of our lives,” it reads. “The spread of biometric surveillance tools like palm scans and facial recognition now threatens to destroy that, transforming these spaces into hotspots for [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] raids, false arrests, police harassment, and stolen identities.”
It also notes, “It’s simply a matter of time before we hear of cases of palm scans misidentifying people in the ways that facial recognition has – often with violent and life altering consequences – but most concerning of all is the fact that this new technology will make the data of thousands of people vulnerable to ongoing government tracking and abuse AND malicious hackers.”
”It means that we’ve gone full Orwellian,” Anti-Flag frontman Justine Sane said in an interview from Nashville, Tennessee, on Wednesday. “Your biometrics are everything and as soon as you give your biometrics away, the possibility for your identity to be stolen or for anybody to take control of your life in some way, that door is open. For me, music and music venues should be more community-based. It shouldn’t be a place where the police could potentially be harassing people because they’re checking people’s biometrics and there’s a report back of the police.
”As far as the Big Brother aspect of it, whether it’s ICE raids, false arrests, police coming to look for people, nobody ever thinks it’s going to start out that way. There’s a fine line to me between asking for an ID and checking to make sure somebody is of age versus actually having somebody’s physical imprint and the potential of abusing that.”
Along with the artists, the protest was initiated by advocacy group Fight for the Future and 30 other groups, including United We Dream and Access Now.
”Corporations have tried to make this tech sound harmless, but let’s be clear: Amazon has a vested interest in getting millions of people to give up their palm scans,” Presente.org’s executive director Matt Nelson said in a statement. “The palm scanning scheme at Red Rocks is simply priming people for the day when submitting iris scans, fingerprint scans, and face scans everywhere becomes totally normalized.”
AEG has not released any comment.