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Amazon One palm-recognition technology blocked at iconic music venue after artists object

Red Rocks Amphitheater outside of Denver was slated to be one of the first music venues to implement Amazon’s palm-recognition technology for ticketless entry. (Photo by Corey Thompson, via Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0.)

Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado no longer plans to implement the Amazon One palm-scanning technology, after a campaign by musicians and activists to block the plan by ticketing service AXS and parent company AEG Worldwide, according to advocacy group Fight for the Future.

AXS announced the plan in September, saying at the time, “Amazon One will first be offered by Amazon at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver starting today, where AXS will deploy the first stand-alone ticketing pedestals including Amazon One, with additional Amazon One enabled venues planned to come in the future.”

In an open letter after the announcement, artists including Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave), Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill, Le Tigre), and many others objected due privacy and security concerns.

“For many of us, concerts and live events are some of the most memorable and enjoyable experiences of our lives,” they wrote. “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.”

Fight for the Future quotes a representative of Denver Arts and Venues, which manages Red Rocks, saying that the organization hasn’t been in touch with Amazon for several months and doesn’t plan to implement the technology: “I’m not sure what the future of this technology is, but at this point it doesn’t involve our venues.”

Amazon One palm recognition technology as shown in a photo distributed by AXS announcing the plan for ticketless entry at Red Rocks last fall. (AXS Photo via BusinessWire.)

We’ve contacted Amazon and AXS for comment on the news, which was reported Thursday by Rolling Stone

On the Amazon One site, the company says the technology “was designed in accordance with Amazon’s long-standing privacy policies and controls, and is protected by on-device and cloud-based security measures.”

In an update on the campaign site, organizers called on others to follow suit: “Now AXS, AEG, other entertainment companies and venues everywhere must follow Red Rocks’ lead and immediately cancel all plans to use Amazon palm scanning and ban all biometric technology at live events once and for all.”

Amazon launched the Amazon One technology in September 2020 at the Amazon Go store in Seattle. The technology has since rolled out to a variety of locations, including its own retail stores and venues such as Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena, which hosts the Seattle Kraken NHL team in addition to concerts and shows.

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