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New York Lawmakers Protest Madison Sq. Backyard Over Facial Recognition – Rolling Stone

A gaggle of New York attorneys and privateness consultants gathered outdoors Madison Sq. Backyard on Sunday to protest the venue’s controversial use of facial recognition know-how to kick out attorneys whose companies are suing MSG, calling the observe a violation of privateness and suggesting that its continued use might probably put the venue’s public advantages into query.

It is essentially the most important backlash the venue has confronted so far over the coverage, which has resulted in a number of attorneys getting ejected from the venue throughout live shows and sporting occasions due to their companies’ energetic litigation in opposition to MSG.

Eight New York attorneys — together with Congressman Jerry Nadler and 7 state senators and meeting members — penned a letter to MSG Leisure CEO James Dolan, stating that MSG is utilizing the know-how for “non-security functions,” and expressed concern that the tech will be discriminatory and inaccurate.

“We’re significantly involved that MSG Leisure is utilizing facial recognition know-how in opposition to its perceived authorized enemies, which is extraordinarily problematic due to the potential to sit back free speech and entry to the courts,” the group wrote to Dolan. The group additionally requested for MSG to cease utilizing face-scanning tech altogether, and extra firmly demanding that at a minimal the corporate set up a coverage to destroy biometric information it collects as quickly because it’s served its objective.

The attorneys additionally pointed towards MSG Leisure’s $43 million state tax abatement, licenses from the state liquor authority, and an NYC particular allow which they be aware is ready to run out this 12 months, suggesting that the venue’s present coverage might threaten these publicly-supplied advantages and licenses .

“MSG’s use of facial recognition know-how to retaliate in opposition to workers of legislation companies engaged in litigation in opposition to them is deeply regarding. It’s an unacceptable invasion of the privateness of all their employers, and a blatant try and intimidate and bully those that would possibly wish to pursue their day in court docket in opposition to the corporate,” state senator Liz Krueger stated in an announcement. “It’s completely time for the town and the state to rethink any and all permits, licenses, and advantages offered to MSG within the face of their continued malfeasance.”

“As a spot of public lodging, MSG Leisure has a authorized obligation to New Yorkers and most people to guard them in opposition to discrimination and stop harassing them,” the attorneys wrote. “With these components in thoughts, we belief MSG Leisure will act accordingly and instantly stop the usage of private biometric know-how for non-security functions.”

MSG Leisure enacted its coverage in opposition to the attorneys final summer season, telling rolling stones that it notified impacted companies when the coverage started. By October, Grant & Eisenhofer legal professional Barbara Hart had been faraway from a Brandi Carlile present, seemingly recognized with face-scanning know-how earlier than her removing of her as safety guards had been capable of establish her earlier than she gave them any ID paperwork. Hart stated she wasn’t made conscious of the coverage previous to the live performance; whereas her agency de ella is presently litigating in opposition to MSG in a Delaware class motion swimsuit, she says she is n’t part of that litigation.

As NBC 4 reported, Kelly Conlon, an affiliate at Davis, Saperstein and Solomon, was faraway from a Radio Metropolis Rockettes present the week after Thanksgiving as a result of her agency was engaged on a private damage swimsuit in opposition to MSG Leisure. Conlon herself hasn’t labored on any fits in opposition to MSG and would not observe legislation in New York. And because the New York Put up reported, one Brooklyn legal professional was faraway from a Rangers sport on January 10.

“There is a wealth of chance to make use of know-how to the betterment of our society,” Hart instructed rolling stones in December relating to the coverage. “However my actual feeling right here is that this case is demonstrative of the abuse of know-how, akin to what we see with Elon Musk kicking folks off of Twitter simply because they will.”

A number of legislation companies sued MSG over the coverage in New York’s Supreme Courtroom, and in November, the decide issued a preliminary injunction for the companies, stating that the corporate is inside its rights to revoke and refuse to promote tickets to the attorneys, however that they cannot be turned away on the door as soon as they arrive with a sound ticket. Relating to Madison Sq. Backyard itself, based on the ruling, the statute applies solely to “theatrical performances and musical live shows,” not sporting occasions. Madison Sq. Backyard appealed the ruling to the Appellate Courtroom in mid-November, whereas the plaintiffs counter-appealed a month later.

A spokesperson for Madison Sq. Backyard Leisure referred rolling stones to its earlier assertion from December. “MSG instituted a simple coverage that precludes attorneys from companies pursuing energetic litigation in opposition to the Firm from attending occasions at our venues till that litigation has been resolved,” the corporate stated. “Whereas we perceive this coverage is disappointing to some, we can’t ignore the truth that litigation creates an inherently adversarial setting.”

Relating to the attorneys’ demand for a coverage on the storage of biometric information, the spokesperson stated, “The facial recognition know-how system doesn’t retain photographs of people, excluding those that had been beforehand suggested they’re prohibited from getting into our venues, or whose earlier misconduct in our venues has recognized them as a safety danger.”


Face-scanning know-how is a rising subject throughout the reside occasions business. Advocates say the tech can be utilized to cease real security issues at gatherings. Taylor Swift’s tour in 2018, as an illustration, used the know-how as a measure in opposition to the singer’s a whole lot of stalkers, rolling stones reported on the time. Critics, nonetheless, say the know-how will be simply misused to discriminate and violate anybody’s privateness.

“If MSG can do that to attorneys suing the corporate, they will additionally goal workers and prospects who sue the corporate for violating the legislation,” Albert Fox Cahn — founder and govt director of the Surveillance Know-how Oversight Mission who protested alongside the attorneys — stated in an announcement. “It is terrifying to assume that different corporations would possibly observe swimsuit, and that anytime you train your rights in court docket it would imply getting banned from public life. If New Yorkers will be banned from a Rangers sport, they are often banned from the grocery retailer or the pharmacy. These applied sciences are ripe for abuse, and it is gone time that the town and state ban them.”

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