Tom Morello, Kathleen Hanna, and More Sign Open Letter Protesting Amazon Palm Scanners at Venues

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Implementation of biometric ID at venues including Red Rocks Amphitheater constitutes “dangerous biometric surveillance experiment,” letter states

Palm Scanner
Photo by Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tom Morello and Kathleen Hanna are among the signatories of an open letter urging music venues to refuse to implement Amazon palm scanners and similar types of ID. As well as being vulnerable to hacking in the cloud, the data could be targeted by law enforcement, making political activists and marginalized groups more vulnerable, the letter argues. “Palm scans and other forms of biometric data collection, like facial recognition, are tools of state violence,” Siena Mann, campaign manager for the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, said in a press release. “Once the databases are created, police and DHS will find ways to access them.”

Back in 2019, campaigners successfully petitioned various festival and venues to reject facial recognition technology, which, like palm scanning, is considered dangerous because it cannot be changed or replaced if stolen. “Music festivals and many concert venues are already unsafe, exclusive, and inaccessible for many marginalized folks, including trans and nonbinary people,” Evan Greer, director of Fight for the Future, said in the press release. “Introducing biometric surveillance technology at events, even just for the marginal-at-best ‘convenience’ of making the line move faster, makes music fans less safe.”

Amazon, whose technology would power the palm scanners, has a history of sharing private data with law enforcement, the press release notes. Read the open letter in full here.

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