Huge lifeline for live music revealed
Concertgoers could be required to show recent coronavirus test results and their vaccination status under a bold plan by a ticket sales giant.
Ticketmaster says it is exploring the idea of linking the medical details to digital tickets as part of its COVID-safe strategy.
It would be at the discretion of event organisers, not Ticketmaster itself, to request such records, which would be stored with a secure, third-party health care provider.
Ticketmaster said it was a "potential idea" and there was "no set timeline" for the system to be implemented. But if it did eventuate, the company may be able to help some event organisers ask attendees to provide a test result or vaccine status.
"We imagine there will be many third-party health care providers handling vetting - whether that is getting a vaccine, taking a test, or other methods of review and approval - which could then be linked via a digital ticket so everyone entering the event is verified," Ticketmaster's President, Mark Yovich, told News Corp in a statement.
"Ticketmaster's goal is to provide enough flexibility and options that venues and fans have multiple paths to return to events, and is working to create integrations to our API and leading digital ticketing technology as we will look to tap into the top solutions based on what's green-lit by officials and desired by clients."
Associate Professor Frank den Hartog from the School of Information Systems and Technology Management at UNSW Canberra said storing such data did come with risks, especially the given the health sector had "a general bad track record of data breaches".
He said if individuals' coronavirus tests results and vaccination status were recorded, the data should be deleted after a specified time period.
"And it should be auditable. That is, a third-party can go in and ensure the company has followed through on its promise to delete the data," Associated Professor den Hartog said.
Adjunct Professor Patrick Fair, from Deakin University's School of Information Technology, said the data storage platform would have to comply with Australian privacy law which would require it to explain what the health records would be used for, who they disclose it to and whether it would be used overseas.
Professor Fair said Ticketmaster would also have to prove it was relevant to their function, or it could leave itself open to complaint if someone was turned away from an event for not providing their medical records.
Rival company Ticketek said it was "premature to put forward speculative propositions that involve data of this nature" before government and health authorities provided guidance for the industry.
But it did hint that new coronavirus safety measures could be on the cards.
"Ticketek is actively engaged with a number of medical technology companies regarding a range of solutions and will continue to work collaboratively with Governments before making any further announcements," Cameron Hoy, Managing Director of Global Ticketing for TEG (Ticketek's owner), said.
Mr Hoy said Ticketek had rolled out a range of measures - including socially distanced seating algorithms, contactless digital ticketing solutions and enhanced personalised messaging services designed specifically to mitigate risk - and was working with state governments and health authorities to ensure live event could commence again as soon as possible.
"These technology solutions have underpinned a return of crowds at Australia's largest events including State of Origin, AFL and NRL Finals, Exhibitions and the upcoming Greatest Southern Nights concerts at Qudos Bank Arena this month and next, the first indoor arena events permitted in Australia since the pandemic," Mr Hoy said.
Originally published as Huge lifeline for live music revealed