“Facial authentication”

I’m still thinking about how I feel about this.

The Astros will be one of four Major League Baseball teams using facial authentication technology at this year’s opening day in an effort to speed up fans’ entry through the gates at Minute Maid Park.

MLB is calling the system Go-Ahead Entry, which first was tested by the Philadelphia Phillies last season and eventually will be incorporated by every team throughout 2024.


Here’s how it works:

To register, fans who are 18 and older and have a digital ticket to the game in their MLB Ballpark app take what amounts to a selfie through the app. According to MLB officials, the images of fans aren’t stored or shared, but instead converted into a digital token that is used to authenticate fans’ likenesses as they walk through the gates. Fans take the selfie just once as they register and it will be used throughout the season upon entry.

At each Minute Maid Park gate, there will be a special lane for Go-Ahead Entry in which fans can skip the lines and walk through without having to show a ticket once they make it through security. It also works with groups as long as the person signed up for the service has all of their group’s tickets in their MLB Ballpark app.

“It’s almost like if you have Clear at the airport,” Sehgal said.

The registration in question is via the MLB Ballpark app, which is most commonly used for ticketing. The advantages are obvious, as the line to get in will move a lot quicker. The potential downsides include possible breaches (yeah, I know, they say they’re not keeping the data, but there’s always wiggle room in there), law enforcement wanting to get involved, the system failing to recognize you, or recognizing someone else as you, and who knows what else. It’ll probably be fine for most people most of the time, and I don’t want to catastrophize something that will likely be the norm in a few years. I’m just saying, you never know. How do you feel about this? Thanks to Campos for the heads up.

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