Star Wars movies to use facial recognition to spy on audiences?


According to an article in, Disney Research used facial biometrics to spy on 150 movie audiences during Star Wars and other movies.

Fastcodesign warns, we could be moving toward an age where cameras lurk in movie theaters”.

Disney used infrared cameras to spy on moviegoers  

Young and old, no one can escape Disney’s facial recognition cameras at the movies.

“Disney’s researcher team tested their “Neural Net” facial biometric system at 150 showings of nine mainstream movies such as “Big Hero 6,” “The Jungle Book” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” They used a 400-seat theater instrumented with four infrared cameras to monitor the faces of the audience. The result was a data set of 3,179 audience members and 16 million facial landmarks to be evaluated.”

Disney’s facial recognition cameras use Factorized Variational Autoencoders (FVAE’s) to allow them to see individual audience members in the dark.. Disney’s FVAE’s look for audience members who exhibit similar facial expressions throughout the entire movie.

Disney installed infra-red (IR) cameras and IR illuminators placed above the projection screen. The biometric cameras were outfitted with IR bandpass filters to remove the spill of visible light that reflected off the movie screen. They created two separate ‘Max-Margin Object Detection’ facial detection systems one for the back three rows and another for the rest.

Two years ago, I warned everyone ‘that people would be outraged if they knew how many businesses are using facial recognition’.

“People would be outraged if they knew how facial recognition” is being developed and promoted, Alvaro Bedoya says. “Not only because they weren’t told about it, but because there’s nothing they can do about it.”

Disney can spy on individual audience members throughout an entire movie

Disney’s Neural Net can reconstruct an audience member’s facial reactions for an entire movie!

“FVAE scans reconstruct an audience member’s facial reactions for the entire movie more accurately than conventional baselines using all the data.”

Earlier this year, I warned everyone that Disney was installing facial recognition cameras at all of their hotel entrances. And two years ago, I warned everyone that the police state had invaded movie theaters.

A word of caution, although Disney used FVASE’s to test moviegoers facial reactions, it appears they have bigger plans for facial biometrics.

Should it be called Disney Research or Disney Surveillance?

Disney is also developing a program that will re-identify people with one picture.

image credit: Disney Research

“Person re-identification is the task of finding the same individual across a network of cameras. A successful algorithm must cope with significant appearance changes caused by variations in color, background, camera viewpoint and a person’s pose.”

I never thought Disney World, would be creating their own facial biomteric systems to spy on park guests and moviegoers.

Spying on every park guest was never part of his Walt Disney’s vision.

Star Wars fans the world over, should be furious about being forced to go through police checkpointsmetal detectorsand facial recognition cameras just to watch a movie.

What’s to stop movie theaters or the police from using FVAE’s to spy on moveigoers?

We’ve entered a disturbing new phase of surveillance, where facial recognition cameras can spy on moviegoers. No where is safe from Big Brother’s spying eyes.

2 thoughts on “Star Wars movies to use facial recognition to spy on audiences?

  1. Wow, that’s totally unconstitutional and if they tried doing that at my theater, I’d be raising hell.

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