Taylor Swift used facial recognition technology to identify known stalkers at her Rose Bowl concert in May. Her fans watched Swift rehearse through a kiosk at her concert, unaware that their faces were being analyzed. After their faces were detected, the images were cross-referenced with a database that held hundreds of Swift’s stalkers, according to Rolling Stone.
Swift is not the first entertainer to use utilize facial recognition for their security. Jacky Cheung, a pop star in China, used facial recognition on up to 60,000 of her concert attendees, resulting in three fugitive arrests. In Japan, concert venues have used facial recognition for security since 2014.
Aside from keeping entertainers secure, facial recognition data can be sold to companies. Only a few states in the U.S regulate biometric authentication, and private companies have the right to use your image for any means.
“It’s kind of a Wild West out there right now…As long as it’s private property, they can take your image and do whatever analytics they want with it, including facial recognition,”
says Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst with the ACLU. “Face recognition is one of the most dangerous biometrics from a privacy standpoint because it can so easily be expanded and abused — including by being deployed on a mass scale without people’s knowledge or permission,” he went on. Companies are not required to get customers’ consent before taking their image and using their biometric data.
Since the dawn of the search engine, large companies have collected and sold consumer data such as IP addresses, credit cards, and government ID numbers. Today, facial recognition technology is easily accessible to anyone with a smartphone through iOs and Android apps. It’s not surprising that high-profile entertainers like Taylor Swift have taken advantage of facial recognition technology for their security, although it remains to be seen what they will do with their fans’ data.