Latest News

Back to Latest News back


England’s Manchester City warned against using facial recognition on fans

England’s Manchester City warned against using facial recognition on fans
August 23, 2019

Manchester City of the English Premier League have been cautioned against the introduction of facial recognition technology, which a civil rights group says would risk “normalising a mass surveillance tool”.

According to London's The Sunday Times, the reigning Premier League champions are considering introducing technology allowing fans to get into the Etihad Stadium more quickly by showing their faces instead of tickets.

If someone is recognised as having bought a ticket, they would be admitted to the venue by a green light, and if not they would be halted with a yellow one.

Hannah Couchman, Policy and Campaigns Officer at civil rights group Liberty, stated "this is a disturbing move by Manchester City, subjecting football fans to an intrusive scan, much like taking a fingerprint, just so they can go to (a) game.

“It’s alarming that fans will be sharing deeply sensitive personal information with a private company that boasts about collecting and sharing data on each person that walks through the gate, and using this to deny people entry. Manchester City should urgently reconsider their involvement in normalising a mass surveillance tool which can track and monitor us as we go about our everyday lives.”

Blink Identity, a Texas-based facial recognition company, says its technology can identify people walking at regular speed, so fans will not need to slow down to show a ticket or use a turnstile.

To opt in, supporters would need to register a selfie taken on their phone. Blink Identity says it is also possible to “collect usable and sharable data” on every person that walks through its facial scanning software.

The team behind Blink Identity have spent the last decade creating large-scale biometric identification systems in the Middle East for the US Department of Defense, according to its website. Last year Live Nation, the company that owns Ticketmaster, announced investment in Blink Identity as part of plans to replace paper tickets with facial recognition.

Concern over Darwin City Council’s facial recognition capability
This week  has also seen Darwin City Council insist that facial recognition technology - included in the roll out of new CCTV cameras installed across the Darwin CBD - will not be used, even though it was included in its application for Federal Government funding.

As part of the Switching On Darwin project, 138 new CCTV cameras - as well as public Wi-Fi, new lighting, and sensors – have been installed across the city centre.

Under its Smart Cities and Suburbs grant program, the Commonwealth contributed $5 million towards the $10 million digital infrastructure project - an agreement announced in November 2017.

However, following media scrutiny, Darwin City Council confirmed there was no public consultation on the technology's use prior to that funding application being made.

Josh Sattler, Darwin City Council General Manager for Innovation and Growth, added the cameras would be used for things such as vehicle counting, but not facial recognition.

Sattler told the ABC “yes, they have (facial recognition) capability but it's not something we're using … we don't see a situation where we will require that.

"In saying that, from requests coming through from a state or federal agency, we'll need to comply with that request."

A spokesperson for the Federal Department of Infrastructure said Darwin's proposal was the only application of 81 grants delivered through the Smart Cities and Suburbs program that included facial recognition technology.

Earlier this month, the Council announced it had hired a consultant to carry out a privacy impact assessment on all the new technology, with the investigation likely be completed in the next six months.

Related Articles

5th June 2019 - Privacy Commissioner questions use of facial recognition technology at Queensland stadiums

11th February 2019 - Smart sensor enabled LED lighting installed in City of Darwin Bicentennial Park

14th December 2018 - Facial recognition software used to detect security risks at Taylor Swift Los Angeles concert

14th December 2018 - Darwin’s Waterfront Park wins at Kidsafe National Playsafe Design Awards

18th November 2018 - Wi-Fi alerts to keep Queensland beachgoers safe this summer

17th November 2018 - SKIDATA unveils Smart Kiosks range for self service purchases

13th November 2017 - Facial recognition to drive new sporting revenues

22nd June 2017 - City of Joondalup and Telstra build Australia’s smartest park

9th June 2017 - Facial recognition being considered for Gold Coast Commonwealth Games access

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all


Headquartered in Brisbane with an Australia-wide network of satellite offices, PaySmart is one of Australia’s largest and longest-standing direct debit billing companies. In 1996 we began…

read more

Access / Billing / Fitness / Technology


Worldwide Sports Management

Principal Consultant Simon Weatherill has spent the last 20 years developing the world renowned Melbourne Sports Hub, as former Chief Executive Officer of the State Sports Centres Trust…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Recreation / Sport / Venues


Smart Connection Consultancy

Smart Connection Consultancy is a boutique sport and recreation consultancy who has become one of Australia’s leading advocates for the use of synthetic sports surfaces as a vehicle to grow…

read more

Consultants / Recreation / Sport / Surfaces



Talk To Us For Independent Advice & Specialised Services We're business people, not sales reps IP HUB is one of Australia’s leading advisors on telecoms for both small businesses and…

read more

Marketing / Technology


XBODY Australia Pty Ltd

PROVEN BUSINESS CONCEPTS WITH XBODY XBody’s goal is to see you and your EMS business succeed. That is why we don’t just sell equipment, we provide know-how, expert knowledge,…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness


Otium Planning Group

Otium Planning Group is a contemporary sport and leisure consultancy providing services in planning, facility development, management and funding for the sport, recreation and leisure industries…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Recreation / Sport / Venues


Anti Wave International

Anti Wave International is the original suppliers of top performance swim, aquatic sports, leisure and pool programming equipment. Founded in 1971, Anti Wave International is proud of its…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Sport



Developed in Europe, this innovative system offers a safety management solution for swimming pools that checks individual swimmers via their wristband - monitoring their depth and time. Sensors…

read more

Aquatics / Hospitality / Safety / Technology / Waterparks


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business