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Lawmakers, Privacy Advocates Slam MSG for “Weaponized” Biometric Data Use

Madison Sq. Backyard has discovered itself within the crosshairs of each privateness advocates and lawmakers in New York over its use of facial recognition expertise to maintain sure people out of occasions at its venues. A coalition took the corporate, which operates quite a few venues in New York and elsewhere, to task over its use of biometric consumer data earlier this week.

They are saying the utilization of facial recognition software program has nothing to do with public security, and is as an alternative getting used to relax free speech whereas concurrently violating privateness of all who enter the venues

“There’s completely no safety goal in ejecting a younger mom from chaperoning her daughter’s Girl Scout troop field trip to the Rockettes,” State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal mentioned. “MSG Leisure is utilizing facial recognition techniques to automate discrimination, violate people’ privateness, and chill any criticism of the corporate. It units a harmful precedent to allow MSG Leisure to take care of such energy, and we demand they stop the usage of this extremely flawed expertise instantly.”

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Others becoming a member of within the coalition included fellow state lawmakers Sen. Liz Krueger, Sen. Brian Kavanagh, Sen. Kristen Gonzalez, and Meeting Members Tony Simone and Alex Bores, Council Member Erik Bottcher, Albert Fox Cahn – Founder and Government Director, Surveillance Know-how Oversight Venture (S.T.O.P.), and the Policing and Social Justice Venture.

MSG has been beneath hearth for a number of weeks over its efforts to bar sure people from attending occasions at its venues, primarily lawyers who are representing clients in litigation naming the MSG organization or its CEO James Dolan as defendants. The facial recognition protest took place after some topic to the ban had been recognized utilizing the expertise and ejected from occasions they had been attending.

The group insists that it’s inside its rights to each ban anybody from attendance, in addition to use techniques such because the facial recognition expertise in query to take action.

“MSG instituted an easy coverage that precludes attorneys from companies pursuing lively litigation in opposition to the Firm from attending occasions at our venues till that litigation has been resolved. Whereas we perceive this coverage is disappointing to some, we can not ignore the truth that litigation creates an inherently adversarial setting,” an MSG Spokesperson informed TicketNews earlier this week. “All impacted attorneys had been notified of the coverage. We proceed to clarify that impacted attorneys will likely be welcomed again to our venues upon decision of the litigation.”

The group additionally insists it’s in compliance with all relevant regulation in how the expertise is used.

“Facial recognition expertise is a great tool extensively used all through the nation, together with the sports activities and leisure trade, retail areas, casinos and airports to guard the protection of the those who go to and work at these areas. Our venues are worldwide locations and a number of other sit on main transit hubs within the coronary heart of New York. We have now at all times made it clear to our company and to the general public that we use facial recognition as one in all our instruments to supply a secure and safe setting for our prospects and ourselves.”

The usage of facial recognition and different so-called “biometric” information by venues has been a magnet for controversy in a number of occasion in recent times. Privateness advocates are strongly opposed to those techniques, saying they’re inherently in violation of shopper privateness, and ought to be banned fully from all utilization at dwell occasions, for functions of ticketing or venue safety, because of the flaws inherent with the gathering of such uniquely private information.

Dwell Nation and AEG reportedly backed off plans to deploy facial ID systems at their festivals in 2019 after several artists campaigned against their use. Comparable pushback in opposition to the use of Amazon palm scanning technology for occasions at Purple Rocks in Colorado caused AXS to halt that planned rollout as well.

Nonetheless, occasion and venue operators have continued to pursue the usage of such techniques, even within the background equivalent to with MSG’s operations previous to the headlines over the previous month associated to them. ASM Global recently rolled out facial recognition technology capable of each course of cost at concession areas and permit for venue entry at Pechanga Enviornment in San Diego, California, and plans to develop its use to different buildings if it hasn’t already.

MSG’s use in New York arguably offers those that oppose such expertise with the most effective concrete instance of how it may be abused by occasion operators whether it is adopted as trade normal.

“If Madison Sq. Backyard can use biometric expertise to ban an legal professional from its premises, what recourse is there for the common New Yorker? I’m alarmed by the dearth of oversight regulating the usage of biometric applied sciences by each personal and public entities within the State,” says Senator Kristen Gonzalez, Chair of the Senate’s Web & Know-how Committee. “As rising applied sciences proceed to manipulate our day by day lives it’s far overdue for the state to step-in and enshrine rules to guard our proper to privateness and in opposition to discrimination.”

The lawmakers against MSG on this subject have known as on MSG Leisure to create and cling to particular insurance policies relating to the usage of biometric information and its destruction, and made clear {that a} failure to take action might carry dire penalties.

They famous MSG Leisure receives a NYS tax abatement for Madison Sq. Backyard valued at roughly $43 million yearly, a NYC particular allow (expiring this 12 months), and quite a few licenses from the New York State Liquor Authority. 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.

MSG Entertainment presently operates Madison Sq. Backyard, Radio Metropolis Music Corridor, the Beacon Theatre, and Hulu Theater in New York Metropolis, in addition to the Chicago Theatre and MSG Sphere beneath development in Las Vegas. The corporate is reportedly going ahead with plans to spin off its live entertainment operations this spring.

Final Up to date on January 19, 2023 by Dave Clark



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