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Microchipped ID wristbands heading for UK festivals

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Original Message Post # 1
Wed 20th Jun 2012 16:49
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Rating: Rock Icon
Joined: 12/09/2003
Topics: 583 Replies: 1776

A news item from Newsbeat - personally I find this creepy, unacceptable and nothing to do with ticket safety. I believe it is a ploy to extract as much money from festival goers as is possible.

Festival-goers have seen new microchipped wristbands in action at a major event in Europe ahead of the summer festival season.

Designers say the wristbands wipe out ticket fraud and touting, and can be loaded with cash to pay for goods on site.

But critics say they are an invasion of privacy and make festivals feel "too commercial".

Glastonbury organiser Michael Eavis has confirmed he may adopt the technology.

The company behind the wristbands, Intellitix, confirmed the technology will be used for general admission at "a couple" of UK festivals in 2012.

The wristbands look like standard material festival bands except they're fitted with a microchip, a similar technology to London's Oyster card public transport swipe cards.

Wristbands are scanned as music fans enter and leave venues or areas

Festival-goers are registered in and out of venues with either turnstiles or hand-held devices scanning their wristbands, with organisers able to track the data.

Glastonbury's Michael Eavis was one of the promoters taking a look at the technology in action at Eurosonic Noorderslag festival in Groningen, The Netherlands.

He confirmed his event, the UK's largest festival, are considering using the technology and that it "seems like an incredible system."

Speaking to Newsbeat, 76-year-old Eavis admitted that "it does look as though it's something better than what we're doing at the moment" and that he "might be tempted" to use it.

Glastonbury currently uses a registration system where ticketholders' photos appear on the printed tickets.

However, Eavis did have concerns about whether introducing the wristbands would result in his, and other festivals, becoming "too commercial".

"All the commercial implications of the chip are slightly worrying aren't they?" he said.

"I don't want to take people into a land they don't want to go into.

"And using information about people, I wouldn't be happy about that."

Greg Parmley, chief information officer for Intellitix, denies the tracking technology is invasive saying festival-goers can choose to be anonymous.

He also denies those festivals which adopt the new wristbands will have to increase ticket prices to pay for it, adding: "The last thing this will do is raise general ticket prices."

He said the microchips are "really cheap", costing "pennies" to produce.

More than 3,000 music fans and industry representatives had a chance to use the technology for the first time as more than 200 bands took to stages at 27 different venues at Eurosonic.

Ramon Von Geytenbeek, from Amsterdam, said: "The chip itself is quite annoying. You feel it brushing up against your wrist.

"I do understand that they do want to know where people are going, what they're doing but I don't really want them tracking me. I want to go where I want without people checking."

Gasper Smidt from The Hague said: "I think it's really innovative. Everything is going really smoothly. It's a safe way to check if everyone is in or out."

So far more than a million customers have used the wristbands after they were introduced at a number of major festivals across north America in 2011.

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”
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Post # 2
Top Wed 20th Jun 2012 23:16

Rating: Rock Icon
Joined: 02/10/2006
Topics: 250 Replies: 1763
"Designers say the wristbands wipe out ticket fraud and touting, and can be loaded with cash to pay for goods on site."

Maybe the designers should also factor in that by loading wristbands with credit to purchase items the wristbands themselves then become worth stealing

And the only way to get someones wristband off them is by threats or force

We already see small numbers of people robbed of their normal wristbands at UK festivals across the season

There is a distinct danger that if people load these wristbands with credit that that could increase
 Quote Markland Quote  Reply to Markland Reply
Post # 3
Top Thu 21st Jun 2012 09:30

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Joined: 15/11/2010
Topics: 7 Replies: 316
I don't know if the wristbands would cut down on touting. Surely you can sell a wristband at an inflated price in much the same way as you can sell a ticket?

As for an invasion of privacy, it depends what data is loaded into it. If it's only a name then I can't see the problem.

And as for them being stolen - people who would do that are just as likely to threaten someone to hand over their cash, so I can't see that increases in robbery would increase or decrease. At least an electronic wristband could be cancelled and made unusable - you can't do that with stolen cash.

All in all, can't see that they would make much difference either way.
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