Midway through this month, the MBL announced their plans to do away with both electronic and paper ticketing. First they will implement fingerprint technology, then facial scanning. “Safe, simple and seamless” is what Noah Garden, MLB’s executive VP of business called the fan experience.
Perhaps pre-empting this announcement, a few days earlier Microsoft President Brad Smith said the technology would require governmental regulation: “Facial recognition technology raises issues that go to the heart of fundamental human rights protections like privacy and freedom of expression”, he wrote.
“These issues heighten responsibility for tech companies that create these products. In our view, they also call for thoughtful government regulation and for the development of norms around acceptable uses […] Facial recognition will require the public and private sectors alike to step up – and to act.”
Now, it would be short-sighting to assume this technology won’t catch on quickly, and rapidly spread to other ticketed events. It makes sense in regards to stopping scalpers, speeding up queues, and simplifying the purchasing experience.
The downsides are darker, however.
As Facebook has shown recently, people are very laissez-faire when it comes to their personal data. In contrast, these companies are militant when it comes to collecting, storing, and parsing such data. What will ticketing companies do with facial and fingerprint scans of every single person who purchases a ticket.
They already have your credit card details, your address, your phone number, your embarrassing hotmail address that you set up when you were 16 and haven’t bothered to change ([email protected], I’m guessing), and now they will have your fingerprint record and an accurate scan of your facial features.
That’s enough to pin a murder on you.
Still, the queues will be shorter…