facial recognition

Look What You Made Taylor Swift Do: Use Facial-Recognition Technology

Photo: Kevin Mazur/TAS18/Getty Images

The future is now … but are you ready for it? Back in May, Taylor Swift played a concert at the Rose Bowl in California. Amid the show’s setup was a kiosk equipped with video screens playing clips from Swift’s rehearsals for the show. The real endgame? Swift’s people were scanning concertgoers looking at the screens using facial-recognition technology, Rolling Stone reports. The scans were then analyzed by a “command post” in Nashville, which compared the faces scanned against a database of Swift’s stalkers. Meaning Swift & Co. were trying to figure out who was trouble when they walked in, if you will.

From Rolling Stone:

They [attendee’s faces] were cross-referenced with a database of hundreds of the pop star’s known stalkers, according to Mike Downing, chief security officer of Oak View Group, an advisory board for concert venues including Madison Square Garden and the Forum in L.A. “Everybody who went by would stop and stare at it, and the software would start working,” says Downing, who attended the concert to witness a demo of the system as a guest of the company that manufactures the kiosks.

Call it what you want: creepy invasion of privacy or savvy use of technology. (Maybe both.) Swift knows all too well the level of danger that comes with her fame. One of her (many) stalkers was sentenced to six months in prison this month for breaking into her apartment to take a shower and nap. Swift’s representation declined to comment on the technology. While it’s technically legal for an artist to use facial recognition during a private show, it seems likely those in attendance who didn’t know about it would like to tell Swift, I wish you would … not.

Look What You Made Taylor Swift Do