It’s May and the sun is finally out after a long British winter. For many that means one thing: festival season. It’s a good occasion to disconnect from technology, go off the grid and enjoy a few days of carefree excitement. Or not. Along with booze, music and mud — a lot of mud — British festivals may have another feature: mass surveillance.

Last year, Leicestershire police scanned the faces of 90,000 festival-goers at Download Festival, checking them against a list of wanted criminals across the country. It was the first time anywhere in the UK that facial recognition technology — NeoFace — was used at a public outdoor event. Privacy campaigners — and Muse frontman Matt Bellamy — expressed their fury at authorities after they casually mentioned the use of the surveillance project on Police Oracle, a police news and information website. READ MORE