Included in the Live Nation’s first quarter 2018 financial results released last week, was a small mention that they have partnered with and invested in a facial recognition company called Blink Identity. Live Nation’s plan is to use this technology to allow ticket holders to gain access to shows without a ticket using facial recognition.
“It is very notable that today we announce our partnership with, and investment in, Blink Identity which has cutting-edge facial recognition technology, enabling you to associate your digital ticket with your image, then just walk into the show.” – Live Nation first quarter 2018 Financial Results
According to Blink Identity’s web site, users simply walk past their system at normal speed and their image is captured and matched against a database of facial images in a half a second. If a match is taken place and a ticket is linked to the ticket holder’s profile, they would be allowed entry to the event.
Below is the facial recognition flow as described on their site:
- Users walk past our system at a full walking speed, without having to slow down or look at the camera
- We acquire a face image and match it against a large database in half a second (a blink!)
- Once the user is matched, a wide variety of application-specific actions can happen
- A ticketed user is allowed into a venue
- A bad actor is identified and security is alerted
- A door or turnstile is triggered, allowing access
- An entry is made into a time-tracking system for hourly workers
- Enrollment into the system is just as easy – users simply walk past the sensor to be entered into the database
Facial recognition a privacy concern & can be defeated
Facial recognition is a major concern for privacy advocates for fear that this technology can be used by governments and corporations to track individuals and the places they visit. Using Blink Identity’s technology, even those who are not using these types of tickets would still be entered into their database simply by walking past the sensor. This could allow Ticketmaster to quickly compile a large database of U.S. citizen’s facial images that could be subpoenaed by the U.S. government during investigations.
The United Stated DHS has already been using facial recognition in U.S. airports for international flights. While President Trump has created an executive order specifying U.S. citizens should be exempt from this scanning, since 2016 the DHS had been scanning both US and non-US travelers.
Furthermore, researchers have already developed techniques that allow them to trick facial recognition systems using Facbook photos or printed photos. While the in-person aspect entering a show would make these tricks less useful, security researchers are tenacious and could come up with solutions that can be used in a live situation.
It is not known at this time if this technology will be mandatory in the future for Ticketmaster venues and when it will begin testing. internetnewsblog has reached out to Live Nation for comments, but have not heard back at the time of this publication.