Sporting fans and concert goers are being surveilled using facial recognition technology (FRT) at Australia's major venues, sparking calls for national regulation.
Consumer advocacy group CHOICE has revealed stadiums including the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Sydney Cricket Ground and Qudos Bank Arena include FRT use within their conditions of entry.
There are community concerns over privacy and human rights issues arising from the growing use of the technology which collects an individual's biometric data.
Consumer data advocate Kate Bower said anyone using the technology should be upfront about where and why it is being used, and how the data is being shared or stored.
"Stadiums are places where many people, including children, gather to have fun and make memories. If facial recognition is being used in these venues, people should have the choice to opt in or out," Ms Bower said.
"It is extremely concerning that FRT is being used at major concert and sporting venues across the country without any kind of clear information for consumers about where, how and why it is being used."
CHOICE was told by a Venues NSW spokesperson, which owns and operates the SCG and Allianz stadiums, that it abides by privacy obligations and does not monetise facial recognition data.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Qudos Bank Arena is leased by TEG but managed and operated by ASM Global.
A TEG spokesperson said facial recognition at the arena was solely used for "security reasons to identify any persons of interest".
"TEG does not collect biometric data at Qudos Bank Arena and ASM Global does not share any such data with TEG, its related entities, or any other third party entity," the spokesperson said.
There are no dedicated facial recognition laws in Australia and reform has been recommended by the Australian Human Rights Commission.
The Commission says stronger, clearer and more targeted human rights protections are needed on the development and use of biometric technologies including FRT.
Ms Bower also said strong regulators were needed to keep business accountable and provide clear guidelines for "safe and responsible" FRT use.
Artists boycott venues over privacy concerns
In June more than 100 artists and performers in the US pledged to boycott venues using FRT.
They included Rage Against the Machine bandmates Tom Morello and Zack de la Rocha, rock band Wheatus and singer Jill Sobule.
The pledge was led by non-profit advocacy group Fight for the Future after Madison Square Garden was accused of using FRT to track and kick fans out of events.
Fight for the Future campaigner Leila Nashashibi said the technology has been pitched as innovative and increasing security.
"Not only is this false, it's morally corrupt," she said.
"For starters, this technology is so inaccurate that it actually creates more harm and problems than it solves, through misidentification and other technical faultiness.
"Even scarier, though, is a world in which all facial recognition technology works 100 per cent perfectly-in other words, a world in which privacy is nonexistent, where we're identified, watched, and surveilled everywhere we go."