The future is now
Your opinions may vary on Taylor Swift, but we can all agree that, over the years, she has been through hell at the hands of stalkers. From breaking into her house to attempting to rob a bank to impress her, Taylor has had a terrible time.
So, it’s understandable that the star cranked up the security at her LA show in May of this year.
What’s slightly less understandable is that it is alleged that Taylor used facial recognition technology to do so.
It may sound like something out of James Bond – but that’s because it basically is. According to Rolling Stone, unsuspecting fans who thought they were simply watching Taylor’s rehearsal footage at a kiosk in the venue’s lobby, were in fact having their faces scanned… to check if they were one of Taylor’s ‘hundreds’ of stalkers.
Mike Downing, chief security officer of Oak View Group, an advisory board for concert venues including New York’s Madison Square Garden, attended the concert as a guest of the company who manufactured the kiosks. He gave the lowdown on the technology, saying, ‘Everybody who went by would stop and stare at it, and the software would start working.’
So what was done with the footage? According to Downing, the images were whizzed back to a Swift ‘command post’ in Nashville (where else?), and were cross-examined against a list of known stalkers. Rolling Stone went on to add that Swift’s representatives did not respond to requests for comment.
Could this be the future of safety for pop stars at their gigs? Or is this just a misguided attempt at personal security, which instead violates personal privacy?
Critics of Taylor’s technique have cited the fact that fans did not know the images were being captured, never mind the fact that no information has been given with regards to how long the images are stored, where they are stored and who is doing the data analysis.
While we cannot condone invasion of privacy, the reality of stalking is still hideous. Stay safe, Taylor.