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Police Scanning Every Face At UK Download Festival 134

AmiMoJo writes: Leicestershire Police have announced that they will be scanning every face at the popular UK Download music festival. The announcement article on Police Oracle (paywalled) reads, "the strategically placed cameras will scan faces at the Download Festival site in Donington before comparing it with a database of custody images from across Europe." The stated goal is to catch mobile phone thieves. Last year only 91 of the 120,000 visitors to the festival were arrested, and it isn't clear if the data will be deleted once checked against the database. The linked article provides at least one image of a costume that would probably trip up any facial recognition technology yet devised.
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Police Scanning Every Face At UK Download Festival

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  • by EmperorOfCanada ( 1332175 ) on Monday June 15, 2015 @06:43AM (#49912851)
    Why would the festival cooperate? Basically they are saying to their customer that their privacy is of no value. Not only is this cruel but it also indicates that the festival will probably sell on any data they have gathered on the festival goers.

    It is this callous disregard for privacy that screams for laws that clamp down on any organization, including the police, from being able to gather data. Quite simply I want a law that prevents any organization from gathering data that isn't crucial for the transaction and to not be able to share that data without a warrant. Thus I want this reaching the point where the power company can only gather the minimum amount of data to send me a bill and deliver my service. I don't even want them noting my gender. Then I pretty much want them not to be able to share that data with their own marketing department, let alone "trusted third parties".
    • They have no choice! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 15, 2015 @07:01AM (#49912935)

      The festival needs a license, the last labour government made it condition of the license that the police agree, so the police use it to add any arbitrary law to the agreement.

      So here the police demanded mass surveillance as a condition of their approval and so the festival has no choice but to go along with it.

      This is how the UK is, the police drive the democracy, its heavily over-policed, and if you try to tackle them, they send out PR people to talk trash on TV.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Monday June 15, 2015 @07:13AM (#49912995) Homepage Journal

        Bingo. Whenever the police have to licence something, e.g. the sale of alcohol or an event, they tag on a load of extra conditions for their own benefit. You will probably find that the CCTV providing the images for facial recognition has been paid for by the festival organizers as part of the deal. Any shop or pub getting a licence these days will need to install CCTV and make it available to the police.

        The police love this. It costs them nothing and they can claim that much of the machinery of their oppression is privately owned, and thus not a threat or controlled by the laws governing their behaviour.

      • George Orwell's 1984 in action. Any discussion to the contrary, is "counter-think".
    • by DrXym ( 126579 )
      They'd cooperate because any initiative which cuts down on criminal incidents is probably fine by them.
    • Mandatory (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Here's the license condition used to force bars to install CCTV:
      http://londonist.com/2009/02/mandatory_cctv_cameras_in_pubs.php

      Quite simply if you refuse, the police object to the license and the festival would not be permitted. The police drive the law, and they're above any niceties like citizens rights.

      None of this has been agreed by Parliament, Police were given the right to object to festivals in cases of public danger or major crime, and they expanded that into "do as we say or we'll object and your f

    • Quite simply I want a law that prevents any organization from gathering data...

      Absolutely impossible to enforce. You can never know what is being collected and stored. It is easier to prove the existence of your favorite deity.

      • by hlavac ( 914630 )
        The only way to ensure data is not misused for purposes other than intended is to make sure it does not exist.
      • Quite simply I want a law that prevents any organization from gathering data...

        Absolutely impossible to enforce. You can never know what is being collected and stored. It is easier to prove the existence of your favorite deity.

        It's a Comfort to me. Like a Big Brother watching over me wherever I go!

      • Just because it is easy to get away with doesn't mean they can't actively enforce it. It is easy to get away with smoking Marijuana, but people get arrested for it all the time.
    • by anmre ( 2956771 ) on Monday June 15, 2015 @07:29AM (#49913059)

      Directly from their privacy policy on their website. [downloadfestival.co.uk]

      Information on your preferences. We may collect information about events you like or products you buy or enquire about (e.g. as part of a survey or from your review of an event). We may also hold information on interests and demographic categories inferred from your interactions with us in order to provide you a better service and to provide you with more focused information. For example, if you buy tickets to a certain show and lots of people who went to that show also bought tickets for a different concert, we might send you information about that concert.

      Cashless payment wristband usage information. If you use a cashless payment wristband during one of our events, we may collect information relating to your use of the wristband such as check-in information and the purchases you make with your cashless payment wristband (i.e. purchase of products and merchandises).

      Understand that you are NOT the customer here. You're the product.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dave420 ( 699308 )
        Stop with that tired meme. Seriously. It's not insightful, it doesn't explain anything, and it's usually flat-out wrong. It's clearly wrong in this case as the customers are purchasing a product. I'm surprised you didn't chime in with "1984 was not an instruction manual!" to finish it off.
        • Just because the customer purchases a product doesn't mean that he/she cannot simulatenously be a product. Which is manifestly what's going on here.

          And they apparently did use "1984" as an instruction manual.

        • it is fairly insightful. I don't think you have a point besides "any other political opinion other than do what the government says is childish because I said so".

          You are the product, means that not only are these companies spying on you, they are proccessing information to sell to advertisers much in the way a spy agency would go after a mark. They find your psycological weak points to convince you that their product is awesome and then have you harrass the companies neigh sayers.

          At the end of the day,

    • by pev ( 2186 )

      If you don't do what the police ask you to, you will not be able to run your event, it's as simple as that. This is often a financial issue for example. :
      http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/crime/100-fewer-police-at-hogmanay-over-funding-row-1-3597735

      I could name several smaller independent festivals in the UK that have been made financially infeasible by large imposed policing costs and had to be subsequently cancelled. Many would argue that often the policing costs are un-warranted a

    • It is a downloaded music festival. If it was some other sort of festival, it would seem like hypocrisy, but since it is about information being free, then it seems to fit. If music on the internet is supposed to be free because it is just data, then why should the likeness of a person be protected? It's just data.
      • by amias ( 105819 )

        its called download but thats just a name , it means nothing other than some marketing people though the target market would think it is cool

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by davydagger ( 2566757 )
        I hate this. Just because someone gives you something for free, doesn't entitle them to take your rights away.

        Thats litterally how pimps control prostitutes.

    • Why wouldn't they co-operate? How many people are going to stay home or spend less money because of the cameras?

      How much financial damage can the police do through harrassment to ensure the cameras stay up, such as imposing fines, threatening to revoke permits, taking them through court systems, having uniformed and un-uniformed officers harrass festival goers until they don't want to come back or get them to leave before they spend too much money.

      Waiting for a financial incentive to get large companies

      • by Anonymous Coward

        > How many people are going to stay home or spend less money because of the cameras?

        The story indicates that this was going through on the quiet, which negated people's options to make an informed fucking decision.

    • by doccus ( 2020662 )
      I would just BET the major labels have paid BIG time into this. Perhaps into the local coppers (coffee?) coffers too, by paying off the spying equipment. See, once this is done, the labels will have a face to attach to "suspected downloaders". So will the cops. "Mobile phone thieves"? Yeah, right.. last time I read a summary, it was for "European 'terrists' ". Time before that, it was to "Help interpol".. or something to that effect. In reality, the majors want a face to attach to any future IP addy..So a d
  • by retroworks ( 652802 ) on Monday June 15, 2015 @06:47AM (#49912877) Homepage Journal
    Walmart, Best Buy, and Staples are using this facial detection to "add value" to their ceiling based security cameras. I looked into it after receiving Facebook ads for things I never searched but only picked up and examined physically (like very specific models of camera). Unfortunately it's harder to camouflage your face than it is to camouflage cookies from website visits. It starts with security and then goes to marketing... Leicestershire Police will be able to sell a list of attendees to companies marketing hardware, for example (one of the more valuable commodities for conference advertisers... for now).
    • Have you got a link to that, I hadn't heard shopping centres had started linking security camera footage to facebook accounts?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Have you got a link to that, I hadn't heard shopping centres had started linking security camera footage to facebook accounts?

        He wont because it is bullshit.

        • by GTRacer ( 234395 )
          Well, what about the in-store tracking that has been reported in Forbes and elsewhere which uses your cell phone's MAC address, in-store location tracking and video feeds to assemble a profile on you? And ever wonder why stores are all hot to offer free WiFi? And encourage their apps' use? Because as soon as you link your identity to that profile they have you. They don't need facial recognition (which I wouldn't be surprised about anyways).
          • Additionally, what do you think the so-called loyalty/advantage/discount cards are for? They are used to track your purchases and market at you.

            The upshot is, once facial recognition comes to all of these stores, such tracking cards will become obsolete.

            • If I was really that worried about a supermarket knowing what I spend my money on, I'd pay in cash, never use the same shop twice in a row, and adopt a variety of simple disguises such as false beards or noses, and...oh wait. Of course I wouldn't because I really don't care.

              As it is, receiving money off vouchers for things that I have bought recently does not exactly feel like I'm being watched by Big Brother.

      • Here are a few links.

        BBC http://www.bbc.com/news/busine... [bbc.com]

        NYT http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02... [nytimes.com]

        Here is a video https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

        http://adage.com/article/digital/facebook-walmart-write-rules-facial-recognition/245707/

        There are others but these stitch together the use of facial recognition in existing retail security systems (2011) and the later meetings (Walmart, Facebook) to establish "rules of conduct" for retail implementation, a video showing how it's done. It's certainly proven to

  • by SkunkPussy ( 85271 ) on Monday June 15, 2015 @06:48AM (#49912879) Journal

    They're keeping it secret because its trivial to circumvent by wearing a hoody or a mask.

    It seems very likely that the prevalence of CCTV has driven the trend over the last 15 years towards hoodies - i.e. jumpers with a hood that may conceal a lot of your face.

    • ...its trivial to circumvent by wearing a hoody or a mask.

      Not at the gate. They can make you remove all disguises, dark glasses, etc and take a picture there.

      • I went to download there were plenty of people wearing slipknot masks waiting to get in, and they never got asked to remove them. From the ticket 25. By attending the event, you give your express consent to your actual or simulated likeness to be included within any film, photograph, audio and/or audiovisual recording to be exploited in any and all media for any purpose at any time throughout the world. This includes filming by the police or security which may be carried out for the security of customers o
        • I went to download there were plenty of people wearing slipknot masks waiting to get in, and they never got asked to remove them.

          From the ticket:-
          25. By attending the event, you give your express consent to your actual or simulated likeness to be included within any film, photograph, audio and/or audiovisual recording to be exploited in any and all media for any purpose at any time throughout the world. This includes filming by the police or security which may be carried out for the security of customers
    • Expect hoodies, masks, or anything else like that to be completely illegal soon.

      In fact, check your local bank. Mine already forbids wearing hats and sunglasses. Don't even think about wearing a mask in one.

      Don't pretend for one second that rules like this won't slowly continue to expand elsewhere.

    • Which is trivial to circumvent, just outlaw hoodies and masks. I would really love to watch you try to enter any festival while obscuring your face. You would be in police detention within 5 minutes.
    • Perhaps that is what they want, because then they don't have to really scan the crowd and can just have their personnel on the ground focus on people trying to hide their face?
  • justification? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by v1 ( 525388 ) on Monday June 15, 2015 @07:02AM (#49912941) Homepage Journal

    You'd think they would have to provide some sort of reason why this specific venue was chosen for this "dragnet" law enforcement. This isn't like license plate scanners where they're throwing them up all over the place on highways... this is a very specific deployment. If they're going to use the reason of "catching cell phone thieves" (which by itself seems to be a very trumped-up reason) you'd thing they would be expected to provide some justification, why they have any reasonable belief that any significant number of said theives are going to be there.

    That reason could actually probably be dismantled now that they've announced they intend to BE there, any said thief would be very likely to avoid the venue as a result. So just based on that alone, they should be packing up?

    It'd be like the police planning a raid on a local bar that had a track record of lots of underage drinkers. If news of the date/time of the raid gets out, it'd be pointless to go ahead as scheduled with the raid? If they went ahead with it even after being exposed, you'd have to assume that the "looking for undeage drinking" was just an excuse for the raid and there was some other specific reason that they didn't want to become public knowledge.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This specific venue because this is the only major UK festival held in the Leicestershire Constabulary. Leicestershire police have been trialling face recognition software for over a year now - they are merely extending their coverage to include festival goers as well as their regular surveillance of the local residents.

    • by rizole ( 666389 )
      That's genius. Announce facial recognition deployment, put up a few dummy cameras which keep the theives away and with the time and money saved attend the festival and relax.
  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Monday June 15, 2015 @07:06AM (#49912959)

    so a fun anecdote i heard from a friend who works in the biometrics field is that in testing facial recognition software that would track people on a college campus, they found a strange anomaly that there was one person that had been spotted hundreds of times in multiple locations at the same time. after reviewing the footage he realized that the cameras were actually finding bob marley's face on t-shirts.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Ah hell, Bob Marley's nefarious evil plot is revealed, he's an unstoppable criminal now, he can do anything and yet he will have a complete alibi!

    • just goes to prove: "the raster, man, is vibrating!"

      can't get a steady signal with all that going on.

  • Absolutely, positively FUCK THIS WORLD!
  • It's already been reported that you need the wristband to do pretty much anything. They already know who you are. Facial recognition in addition seems pointless.
    • by ruir ( 2709173 )
      Amazing. Finally some comment to understand what they are doing. Feeding their database with more than the crappy photos in the ID cards, and probably get people who does not upload personal pictures to facebook.
  • by amias ( 105819 ) on Monday June 15, 2015 @08:04AM (#49913239) Homepage Journal

    I've been involved in quite a few uk festivals and know several organisers and IMNSHO opinion this could have been rejected by the organisers.

    Download has a reputation in the festival scene for being one of the grimmest most corporate of festivals, think mainstream moshing meatheads on speed
    and lager , not hugging hippies on ecstasy. Its quite likely the police strong armed download about this because of their target audience but its just as
    likely download came up with this themselves to reduce policing bills. Having seen policing bills for other festivals its quite likely download were
    hit with something in the order of millions and hired someone (lots of ex-coppers consult on this ) to analyse how to mitigate it and they came up with this.
    Note the almost total lack of outcry from festival goers about this, downloaders just don't care, if this was tried with glastonbury there would be riots.

    The RFID purchasing thing is way more dangerous in my opinion , this has been tried as several festivals and has resulted in a lot of festival
    traders getting ripped off by organisers who simply loot their traders revenue if they fail to make enough money (which happens a lot because
    festival running is subject to a bewildering array of regulations that don't make sense and cause unpredictable expenditure). People who work
    at festivals know full well that accepting anything that isn't cash is a gamble on the skills of the organisers. It turns festival organisers into banks
    which is a terrible idea.

    the police strategy of applying more and more over the top requirements on festival organisers is driving festivals into smaller and smaller events,
    this is typically because the explosion of festivals is a direct response to similar controlling behaviour regarding events and venues in cities. Its a dangerous game to play , over zealous legislation drives events underground where they are potentially less safe (although often much more sensible), where they generate no tax revenue and have no access to sensible venues. This also dramatically increases the possible harms of drug use , contributes to a lot of post drug use psychosis and creates a vast revenue for criminals.

    Until the government and the police recognise and protect the right to have fun and gather socially as the vital part of our culture that it is we will continue to
    have all manner of baffeling social problems as people do it anyway in less than safe circumstances.

  • Stickers with false eyes, lips and noses to be affixed to the faces to throw these recognition systems off balance!

    India is the world leader in these stickers, from traditional simple red/maroon circles, to really fancy pieces that are almost jewelry [google.com]. They should be able to whip up a few million eyes, noses and lips in a jiffy.

  • News item from Leicestershire Police :
        https://www.leics.police.uk/news-appeals/news/2015/06/15/download-success-see-you-in-2016

    Interestingly apparently a 0.2% false positive rate. On attendance size of 90,000 that's 180 people mis-identified. This is apparently using NEC's NeoFace Watch system which they started trialling in the middle of 2014.
        http://www.necam.com/Docs/?id=c8a08fd5-e79c-4f00-9f37-9919318cc772

  • "The linked article provides at least one image of a costume that would probably trip up any facial recognition technology yet devised. "

    Clark Kent's lenless glasses?

    Really need more people in disguise if the scum are going to be pulling this constantly...

  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Monday June 15, 2015 @09:07AM (#49913651) Journal

    For FUCK sake LEAVE us ALONE. Your supposed to be the countries foundation, not our overloads - fuck off.

  • There is no such thing as a temporary tax, or in this case, data collection. The UK is the shining example behind North Korea of an oppressive police state. These data will be used to further inhibit the lives of the citizenry.
  • Nothing a good ol' fashion bandanna can't fix.
  • I suggest a few bright infrared bulbs and a battery in your cap, to the cameras you will likely look like jesus himself. could hurt your eyes so wear eye protection..
  • Maybe their paymasters thought it was a Music Download Festival and thought it'd be a good idea to have incriminating evidence complete with mugshots (nice for the world-wide facial recognition database) of the perpetrators of these heinous crimes against the hard-working, living-off-scraps music community.
    • by K10W ( 1705114 )

      Maybe their paymasters thought it was a Music Download Festival and thought it'd be a good idea to have incriminating evidence complete with mugshots (nice for the world-wide facial recognition database) of the perpetrators of these heinous crimes against the hard-working, living-off-scraps music community.

      joking aside some of the met really are that stupid

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