Administrators seems to have abandoned their plans to install Amazon’s palm recognition technology at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado. As GeekWire reports, the ticketing company AXS and its parent AEG had announced that they would be opening a dedicated Amazon Palm One lane at the Amphitheatre in September, ostensibly to speed up the entry process for those with tickets to an event. Patrons would have needed to opt in and register their palm prints to take advantage of the service, with all biometric data getting stored in the Amazon cloud.
However, Denver Arts and Venues has now confirmed that the technology has not yet been installed, and that there are not any plans to change that in the immediate future. The news comes courtesy of the civil rights group Fight for the Future, which cited a Denver Arts and Venues Communications Director who said, “we haven’t been in touch with Amazon in several months and this isn’t a planned activation at Red Rocks. I’m not sure what the future of this technology is, but at this point it doesn’t involve our venues.”
Fight for the Future is claiming at least some of the credit for that outcome. More than 300 musical artists signed an open letter objecting to the use of palm recognition at the concert venue, while raising additional privacy and civil rights concerns. The letter was part of a broader artist and activist campaign to pressure venue operators away from biometric technology.
“For many of us, concerts and live events are some of the most memorable and enjoyable experiences of our lives,” reads the letter. “The spread of biometric surveillance tools like palm scans and facial recognition now threatens to destroy that, transforming these spaces into hotspots for ICE raids, false arrests, police harassment, and stolen identities.”
Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello and Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna are some of the more high-profile signatories of the letter. Fight for the Future noted that AEG is still trying to move forward with plans to introduce Palm One at other venues (including Denver’s Mission Ballroom), and is urging those venues to follow Red Rocks’ example and reject the technology.
Amazon has used Palm One to enable naked payments at its own retail locations, including Whole Foods stores. The AEG partnership reflects the company’s efforts to expand its own sphere to encourage the more widespread adoption of the Palm One platform.
March 11, 2022 – by Eric Weiss