Dave Gershgorn reports:
New Year’s Day 2020, more than 90,000 college football fans piled into the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California, to watch the Oregon Ducks play the Wisconsin Badgers.
It turns out some of those fans were being watched, too. Before they even entered the stadium, thousands of attendees were being captured by a facial recognition system in the Rose Bowl’s FanFest activity area by an ad tech company called VSBLTY.
The data gathering and surveillance operation has not been reported in the mainstream press before and was revealed after VSBLTY issued a press release of its findings. Neither VSBLTY nor the Rose Bowl Stadium responded to multiple requests for comment or questions about how data was gathered, whether fans were informed, and where the watch list of suspicious persons came from.
Read more on OneZero.
So if we have no expectation of privacy in public, what’s the problem, right? But if this strikes you as creepy, privacy-violative, and possibly illegal, then we need to do more to make such surveillance clearly illegal. Because it *is* surveillance, and remember that nothing stops the federal government from buying private databases.
I generally dislike encouraging class action lawsuits, and I have no idea if one based on this incident has a snowball’s chance, but I do think we need more aggressive and assertive responses to these types of incidents. Boycotting the Rose Bowl won’t do it, either. We need another game plan of our own.