The L.A. Times has reported that people who live anywhere within a mile of the site of the Coachella Valley Music Festival in Indio, California (and perhaps residents’ visitors, if any visitors were allowed?) were “required” to wear individually numbered RFID-chipped tracking bracelets throughout the two weekends of the festival:
In 2011, the organization began using microchip-embedded wristbands….
No one can so much as get within a mile of the Empire Polo Field, where Coachella is held, without wearing one. Local residents, whose homes surround the polo field, also have to wear one just to get to their houses, and Guitron said homeowners must also register their cars….
Guitron said it created a safe perimeter for the event, where every concertgoer and resident can be identified via a microchip.
It’s not clear by whom, or by what authority, nearby residents or their guests and visitors could be “required” to wear devices each of which transmit a unique tracking ID number any time it is requested by private parties.
The festival Website explains the “requirements”, but says nothing about their legal basis:
- “Police check points will vary from one quarter mile to one mile outside of the festival perimeter. Please have your wristbands properly applied on your wrist prior to your departure to the festival.”
- “You cannot pass through the police vehicle checkpoints without your wristband properly applied on your wrist….”
- “You cannot walk or bike to the festival site without a wristband properly applied on your wrist.”
According to a trade-journal review of the system being used at Coachella and some other festivals and events:
For organisers, a major benefit is receiving real-time statistics detailing how many people are in each designated area of the site at any time…. “RFID technology is ideal for an exhibition environment, or at any event where customer relationships, outreach and sales leads are sought.”… [T]he RFID micro-chips are linked to an individual ticket-holder’s information.
Will we see controls and RFID person and vehicle tracking requirements like this next year on Patriots Day for everyone who lives, works, shops, visits, attends political meetings or religious services, or passes through the area within one mile of the Boston Marathon route?
We’d be interested to hear from anyone who lives in the area in Indio in where RFID bracelets were “required”.