Biometric Entry For Major League Baseball Games is Becoming More Prevalent

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by Didi Rankovic, Reclaim The Net:

The rise of facial recognition tech in sports.

The Major League Baseball (MLB) biometric system known as Go-Ahead Entry will this season be used at stadiums, including by “early adopter” Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.

The use of biometric facial recognition surveillance tools at sporting venues around the world started some years ago, and got sped up – or exacerbated, as opponents of the trend might say, with the pandemic.

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Incidentally, a key reason organizations like MLB and other leagues give for using such systems is to “speed up entry into stadiums.” This means that instead of a ticket, fans will be showing their faces to the cameras and feeding their biometric data into the system.

Related: Stadiums are about to become a privacy nightmare

In other words, this is once again about negligible convenience in exchange for unforeseeable consequences on one’s privacy, given the type of data gathered.

For now, the good news, depending on where you stand on the issue, for baseball lovers in the US is that the service is opt-in; the bad is that after Minute Maid Park and three others venues deploy it at the sport’s opening day this year, it will eventually be used by every team at some point during 2024.

Go-Ahead Entry, announced by MLB in August of last year, was first tested by the Philadelphia Phillies. Now Houston’s Astros will start using it in late March, first during exhibition games and then as the season officially starts, the local press are quoting team officials.

Those eligible must be at least 18 years old, and to use Go-Ahead Entry they will first have to have a digital ticket via MLB’s Ballpark app, and then use the same app to take a picture of themselves.

That picture, according to MLB, is not stored or shared. Instead – the Houston Chronicle cites league officials – it is “converted into a digital token that is used to authenticate fans’ likenesses as they walk through the gates.”

What does that even mean? Legacy media is not asking.

But what this gets those who register is the right to use a separate lane and not have to show their ticket while entering the stadium. They will, of course, still have to go through security.

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