Pop singer Taylor Swift enlisted facial recognition technology at one of her gigs this year in order to detect if any of her stalkers were in attendance.
As one of the most notable pop stars in recent memory, it comes as no surprise that Swift has acquired a numbers of crazed fans. Over the last few years, she has been forced to take legal action against several men. One, Eric Swarbrick, whom Swift sought a restraining order against, had been threatening to rape and murder her for several years. Another, Julius Sandrock, was arrested after driving from Colorado with a mask and knife in his car to "meet" the singer. In another case, Mohammed Jaffar was jailed after repeatedly turning up at the singer's home.
Naturally, these cases have caused Swift to take security measures greater than the norm. At her Los Angeles Rose Bowl concert on May 18, a “special kiosk” was installed near the merch stands and dedicated selfie-staging areas. Inside the booths, rehearsal footage played. However, unbeknownst to users, there was a facial recognition camera inside the kiosk. Chief security officer of Oak View Group Mike Downing explained: “Everybody who went by would stop and stare at it, and the software would start working.”
Inevitably, it raises the question of ethics, but technically, Swift isn’t required to notify concertgoers that they may be surveilled, since gigs are considered private events. And it seems like facial recognition at gigs may become the norm; earlier in the year, Chinese police located a criminal within a 60,000-strong crowd.
Photo credit: Jack Alexander.