Red Rocks Amphitheater will no longer use Amazon's palm-scanning tech

Activists and artists pressured Denver Arts and Venues to stop using the system.

Jeff Kravitz via Getty Images

Red Rocks Amphitheater, one of the most recognizable concert venues in the US, no longer plans to use Amazon’s palm scanning technology for ticketless entry. Activists and artists including Fight for the Future, Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) and Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill) pressured Denver Arts and Venues to refrain from using Amazon One at the venues it manages.

"We haven't been in contact with Amazon in several months and this isn't a planned activation at Red Rocks," Denver Arts and Venues marketing and communications director Brian Kitts wrote in an email cited by Fight for the Future. "I'm not sure what the future of this technology is, but at this point it doesn't involve our venues."

Amazon announced in September that it was expanding the tech beyond its stores for the first time at Red Rocks and other venues, including sports stadiums. Hundreds of artists, activists and human rights groups called on Red Rocks, its ticketing provider AXS and AXS parent AEG to drop the technology and to ban all biometric surveillance at their venues.

Those who signed an open letter cited concerns about Amazon sharing palmprint data with government agencies that seek to track marginalized people and activists. They also expressed worry that palm data could be stolen from the cloud by hackers. They're hoping the letter will convince other live entertainment companies and venues across the US to avoid using systems that collect biometric data.

“Red Rocks’ decision to abandon Amazon palm scanning puts the venue on the right side of history, as a defender of human rights and the privacy of music fans," Fight for the Future campaigner Leila Nashashibi said. "Other venues should similarly listen to the hundreds of artists, organizations and fans who don’t see this technology as “convenient” but recognize it as a tool of corporate surveillance and super-charged state violence.”

Engadget has contacted Amazon and Denver Arts and Venues for comment.