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Atlanta Stadium Trials Biometric Facial Recognition Systems

Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.
Published: August 10, 2022
Biometric fail recognition systems have made landfall at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.
A line on the soccer field at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Stuttgart on Aug. 7, 2022. The Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, has trialed biometric facial recognition systems. Whether the systems are kept or tossed depends on customer feedback. (Image: Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Getty Images)

Biometric facial recognition systems, a crucial component of Chinese Communist Party-style social credit and digital identification systems, have already made landfall in mainstream America over the last several months.

One such venue is the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, which trialed the technology with up to 100 season ticket holders during an Aug. 6 Atlanta United FC soccer match, reported the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Aug. 2.

Chief Technology Officer for AMB Sports & Entertainment — the company that owns both Atlanta United and the NFL’s Falcons — Karl Pierburg, showed his delight with the development in comments to the Constitution.

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Pierburg boasted that facial recognition would enable computers to tell the VIPs how many tickets they have simply by scanning their face, adding, “We’ll be able to [greet them by name] and say, ‘Welcome, go on in.’”

The article framed the technology in an amicable light because it would, in theory, enable punters to access the stadium without having to deal with cumbersome paper tickets or their mobile phones.

“The same technology someday may allow fans to be recognized and automatically billed for purchases at the stadium’s bars, restaurants and concession stands,” the Constitution added.

Whether the systems will be deployed long-term at the stadium entirely relied on whether attendees responded positively or negatively in surveys following their interactions, the article noted. 

Additionally, the club states it’s open to not deploying only or just facial recognition, but also palm scanning or Bluetooth array technology that would automatically detect a person’s phone.

Biometrics industry website Biometric Update reported that the Atlanta stadium is not the first to deploy the technology in America. Mile High Stadium in Colorado, where the Denver Broncos play, already utilizes a system called “TendedBar” at concession stands to verify age and identity via facial recognition.

“Enrolling for TendedBar involves QR code and driver’s license scans and a two-minute process on the fan’s mobile device,” they state, adding that the system logs what drinks each face has purchased and can market the same on future visits. 

Similar systems are deployed at the homes of the New York Mets and Jacksonville Jaguars.

New Industrial Revolution

Although biometrics are popping up in mainstream America quietly and without much fanfare, the development is not spontaneous.

In May, Mastercard issued a Press Release trumpeting a new “Biometric Checkout Program” that is set to utilize facial recognition to replace the current systems of card and cash payments.

“No more fumbling for your phone or hunting for your wallet when you have your hands full – the next generation of in-person payments will only need a quick smile or wave of your hand,” the Release stated.

In April, the Dallas Love Field Airport installed a pair of AI-operated panopticon facial recognition surveillance towers, dubbed Security Control Observation Tower (SCOT), which serve the joint purposes of serving as information kiosks and monitoring for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) mask mandate compliance.

And across the water in the United Kingdom, in October of 2021, some schools started to deploy facial recognition systems in cafeterias in the name of enabling children to pay for meals faster and more easily.

A developing police state

And while biometrics may appear to be mankind’s scientific development bringing new conveniences to human society, the systems share clear parallels to the state of affairs in mainland China under the ruling Communist Party.

These systems, complete with their law enforcement implications, have already been deployed in multiple regions across the western world.

In September of 2021, the UK’s vaccine passport app, which relied on biometric facial recognition for identity verification, was found to share data with law enforcement by admission of the NHS.

Meanwhile in Canada, in June of 2021, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) opened bidding to recruit a specialized biometrics contractor to create an “Office of Biometrics and Identity Management” to aid in the “COVID 19 situation and other operational priorities.”

The CCP’s society has been the erstwhile manifestation of technocracy for years. Citizens live and breathe via the graces of their mobile phones, which have been tightly wed to an individual’s national identity, bank account, and in current times, their COVID-19 health passport.

One apt example of the overarching surveillance state is of the “Sharp Eyes” Project, which the Party has deployed to rural areas to persecute civilians.

An instance of the Project reported by independent media outlet Dajiyuan, the Chinese-language version of The Epoch Times, was particularly lucid.

“When a resident of Anxi village in the Sichuan province of China set a match to a small pile of garbage in the gutter two years ago, a loudspeaker blared out his name and address and ordered him to extinguish the blaze immediately. He jumped with fright, quickly put out the flames and scurried away,” the article stated.

The reality of technocratic governance has been fully endured by mainlanders. In November of 2021, in but one of countless instances reported on Chinese social media, residents of Xining City in Qinghai Province were forced to line up outside in freezing temperatures and in heavy snow for hours in order to receive their daily COVID PCR swab test.

For Chinese citizens who fail to take their daily test, their social credit score turns red, causing them to be arrested and sent to quarantine camps the next time they attempt to purchase something or pass through a freedom of movement-restricting checkpoint in a city.