Though often targeted at specific groups, the use of mass surveillance technologies is becoming prevalent in publicly available spaces across Europe. As a result, football fans are increasingly impacted by them.
Apart from its undemocratic nature, there are many reasons why biometric mass surveillance is problematic for human rights and fans’ rights.
Firstly, in the general sense, the practices around biometric mass surveillance in and around stadia involve the collection of personal data, which may be shared with third parties and/or stored insecurely. All of this biometric data can be used in the service of mass surveillance.
Secondly, fans’ culture is under threat because mass surveillance can be deployed to control or deter many of the core elements that bring people together in groups and in stadia. To be sure, biometric mass surveillance can create a ‘chilling effect’ on individuals. Knowing one is being surveilled can lead people to feel discouraged from legitimately attending pre-match gatherings and fan marches, or joining a protest.