Artists protest against Amazon palm scanners

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A list of artists including Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine) and Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill) are protesting against Amazon’s palm-recognition technology in concert halls.

The technology, which connects a spectator’s palm to their ticketing account, has recently been implemented in several US theaters, including the famous Red Rocks Amphitheater following an agreement between Amazon and AEG Worldwide (owner of the site AXS ticket office).

On a new website called Amazon Doesn’t Rock, a number of artists signed an open letter calling on Red Rocks, AXS, and AEG Worldwide to “immediately cancel all contracts with Amazon for invasive palm-scanning technology. ‘Amazon One’.

Some 32 artists, including DIIV, Deerhoof and Jeff Rosenstock, signed the letter, which says that “biometric monitoring tools like palm scans and facial recognition now threaten to transform [music venues] in hot spots for ICE raids, bogus arrests, police harassment and stolen identities ”.

“It’s only a matter of time before we hear of cases of palm scans identifying people in the same way as facial recognition – often with violent and upsetting consequences – but most of all. Of concern is that this new technology will make the data of thousands of people vulnerable to continued government tracking and abuse AND malicious hackers, ”the letter read.

“It’s only a matter of time before we hear of cases of palm scans identifying people in the same way facial recognition does. “

The letter refers to an earlier campaign to protest facial recognition technology at festivals, to which more than 40 of America’s biggest music festivals responded, including Burning Man, Coachella, South by Southwest and Lollapalooza.

He says the introduction of palm scanning devices is a “slap in the face for the fans and artists who have fought so hard to promote the safety of all at live events.”

Amazon previously said it keeps the palm images in a secure part of its cloud and does not store the information on the Amazon One device. Users can also request deletion of their information at any time, the company added.

An Amazon spokesperson responded, “This organization’s claims are inaccurate. Amazon One is not facial recognition technology – it’s optional technology designed to make daily activities faster and easier for customers, and users who choose to participate must make an intentional palm gesture to use the service.

“We understand that the way we protect customer data is important to customers. It’s also very important to us, and that’s why protecting customer privacy is a fundamental design principle for Amazon One. Amazon One devices are protected by multiple security checks and palm images are never stored on the Amazon One device. Instead, the images are encrypted and sent to a highly secure area that we custom designed for Amazon One in the cloud, where we create your palm signature.

Read the full open letter here.


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