Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Lawyer says facial recognition kicked her out of a Rockettes show

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Kelly Conlon, a New Jersey attorney, says she was banned from seeing a Rockettes show at Radio City Music Hall after being identified by a facial recognition system, according to a report. from NBC New York. Conlon told the outlet that security guards approached her while she was in the lobby of the building and said she was not allowed to be there because of her connection to a lawsuit against the company that owns the hall.

“I think they said our recognition picked you up,” she told NBC, saying she was asked to identify herself and that “they knew my name before I told them. They knew the company I was dealing with before I told them.” She says she ended up waiting outside while her daughter watched the show with other members of her Boy Scout troop.

Radio City has a sign stating that the location has “a variety of security measures, including facial recognition that uses biometric identification information”

Madison Square Garden Entertainment (or MSG), the owner of Radio City and many other venues, has not confirmed whether it was facial recognition that alerted security to Conlon’s presence. However, it does make it clear that it uses the technology. “We have always made it clear to our guests and the public that we use facial recognition as one of our tools to provide a safe environment and we will continue to use it to protect against the entry of individuals we have prohibited from entering of our locations,” the company said in a statement The edge by Mikyl Cordova, a spokesperson for the company.

MSG declined to give details about its system, such as whose facial recognition technology it uses. There are many companies that develop these types of systems, some of which sell them to companies and governments. However, the company has a long history with facial recognition systems – it was testing them according to early 2018 a report of The New York Times. As NBC shows in its report, the company has posted signage at the site telling people that security uses facial recognition, as it is legally required to do.

It’s possible there are other ways Conlon could have identified himself before the show; if at any point she had been asked to show her ID or cards with her name on it, it would have been an opportunity for other security systems to flag her. But she told NBC that she was singled out almost immediately when she went through the metal detector.

The incident stems from the fact that Conlon is an attorney at a firm involved in a lawsuit against MSG. Although she told NBC she did not work on the case, “MSG’s policy prohibits attorneys for firms that have an active lawsuit against the company from attending events at our locations until that lawsuit is resolved,” Cordova said. The reasoning is that “litigation creates an inherently hostile environment.” Cordova says “all attorneys involved have been made aware of the policy” and Conlon’s company has been notified twice.

MSG’s position was not well received in some courts

The policy is controversial from a legal point of view. When lawyers on another case brought it up, Judge Kathaleen McCormick — who presided over two different Elon Musk cases this year while trying to get out of Twitter’s purchase and arguing over his pay package with Tesla shareholders — called it ” the dumbest thing I’ve ever done.” ever read,” he said documents obtained by Reuters.

Another judge in a separate case ruled that “plaintiffs should not be denied entry to shows where they hold a valid ticket,” noting that MSG had the right not to sell them tickets in the first place. The company did not answer The edge‘s asking if it had systems in place that would have prevented Conlon from purchasing a ticket, either through its systems or through resellers.

Despite the ruling, MSG sent another letter to law firms telling them not to enter the grounds and that it could revoke their tickets, it said. Reuters. It seems likely that the question of whether MSG’s ban is allowed will be litigated in many courtrooms for quite some time to come, who knows how long. That probably won’t be the case for using facial recognition itself — in New York, it’s legal for businesses to do so, and reports have shown the NYC government has received millions in funding for its own surveillance systems. (However, it has curtailed facial recognition in at least a few cases; schools not currently supposed to use it.)

Even as they become more and more common, facial recognition systems are not widely accepted. While their ability to quickly scan a large number of people and attempt to match faces to an identity in a database makes them attractive to governments and businesses, there are members of the public and privacy advocates who have resisted their use .

Aside from concerns about how they could be used to step up policing or track people’s movements, opponents of facial recognition often point to studies that suggest many of the systems are less accurate at identifying people who aren’t white. There been fallen where people were arrested after facial recognition software identified them as someone they didn’t actually look like.

Some states and cities have passed laws designed to curb access to the technology by police and other government agencies, and huge tech companies like Google, Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon have gotten on different sides of the debate. Even controversial facial recognition company Clearview AI has said it will stop selling its systems to most private companies after it was accused of building its database of photos from social networks without users’ knowledge.

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