Face-off at the Garden: Pols, activists blasts James Dolan, MSG owners for allegedly using facial recognition to ban unwanted fans

Benjamin Pinczewski occurs to be a New York Rangers fan, and a member of a regulation agency at the moment engaged on a lawsuit towards Madison Sq. Backyard. When he not too long ago attended one among the Broadway Blueshirts’ video games on their dwelling ice, he discovered himself unceremoniously given the boot from the “World’s Most Famous Arena.”

It led to prices that MSG, underneath its CEO James Dolan, has been repeatedly using facial recognition expertise to preserve sure people out of the Backyard that administration doesn’t need. In accordance to state Senator Brad Hoylman, Pinczewski was the fourth individual to be faraway from MSG not too long ago on account of the program.

Hoylman, together with a coalition of social justice group members and different elected officers, rallied outdoors MSG on Sunday denouncing the use of facial recognition software program and blasting Dolan for allegedly concentrating on his private enemies.

“There’s a pattern of James Dolan punishing who he views as his corporate adversaries—attorneys who are employed at law firms that have active litigation against Madison Square Garden Entertainment. That is a frightening prospect for every New Yorker and frankly, every visitor to New York City who may come through the doors of Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, or any other venue owned by Madison Square Garden Entertainment,” Hoylman stated. “Madison Square Garden Entertainment says they use facial recognition technology for security purposes to keep their fans safe. Well, we have seen through these examples that James Dolan and Madison Square Garden are less concerned about the security of their fans and more concerned about corporate retaliation.”

Senator Brad Hoylman. Photograph by Dean Moses
Elected officers and privateness advocates held a press convention outdoors of Madison Sq. Backyard on Jan. 15, demanding an finish to facial recognition expertise on fans. Photograph by Dean Moses

Hoylman and fellow elected officers Senators Liz Krueger, Brian Kavanaugh, Council Member Erik Bottcher, and extra unveiled a letter the politicians despatched to Dolan demanding that use of the expertise be instantly ceased. If the observe continues, audio system are demanding that MSG lose its liquor license and its tax exemption standing.

“If you work for a law firm, and you work for a big one, you better start making a really long list of places you can never go again. And that’s crazy; there is no reason for this,” Krueger stated.

Advocates careworn that MSG is abusing facial recognition expertise and weaponizing this energy to discriminate towards patrons and steal their private data. In doing so, these at the press convention shared their worry that if MSG just isn’t stopped, who else will abuse this type of expertise.

MSG safety guards saved a watchful eye over the press convention. Photograph by Dean Moses

“Who will actually go to court against the country’s largest companies if they can retaliate this way?” Surveillance Expertise Oversight Venture Government Director Albert Fox Cahn stated. “If MSG can do this to attorneys suing the company, they can also target employees and customers who sue the company for violating the law. It’s terrifying to think that other companies might follow suit, and that anytime you exercise your rights in court it will mean getting banned from public life. If New Yorkers can be banned from a Rangers game, they can be banned from the grocery store or the pharmacy. These technologies are ripe for abuse, and it’s long past time that the city and state ban them. Giving companies, the wealthy, and the government the ability to track nearly anyone at any time is a recipe for disaster.”

In response to these claims, MSG underscores that the firm doesn’t retain pictures of people until they have been beforehand suggested that that individual is prohibited from getting into the venues. Moreover, MSG asserts that they’ve the proper to shield itself throughout litigation procedures. 

“MSG instituted a straightforward policy that precludes attorneys from firms pursuing active litigation against the Company from attending events at our venues until that litigation has been resolved. While we understand this policy is disappointing to some, we cannot ignore the fact that litigation creates an inherently adversarial environment. All impacted attorneys were notified of the policy. We continue to make clear that impacted attorneys will be welcomed back to our venues upon resolution of the litigation,” an MSG consultant stated in an announcement. 

Madison Sq. Backyard. Photograph by Dean Moses

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