Official alarmed by facial recognition tech


A viral controversy over the use of facial recognition technology to bar customers from New York City performance venues has drawn the attention of the state’s top cop.

New York Attorney General Letitia James on Wednesday sent a letter to Madison Square Garden Entertainment — the company that owns venues like Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden – requesting information about the policy and raising the possibility that it could be illegal, James’ office said.

The letter also questions whether the facial technology is reliable and what safeguards are in place to avoid bias and discrimination, her office added.

The weekend after Thanksgiving, lawyer Kelly Conlon tried to join her daughter’s Girl Scout troop at a Rockettes performance but the venue scanned her face and barred her entrance.

Conlon reportedly appeared on an « attorney exclusion list » created by Radio City Music Hall’s parent company, MSG Entertainment, which bans employees at law firms engaged in litigation with the company, even if a given individual isn’t involved directly.

In this case, Conlon wasn’t involved directly, but her firm was engaged in litigation against one of the company’s restaurants, the New York Times reported. The incident at Radio City Music Hall was first reported by a New York affiliate of NBC.

MORE: Controversy illuminates rise of facial recognition in private sector

In a separate incident at Madison Square Garden last month, another attorney was removed from a basketball game with the use of facial recognition software for the same reason as Conlon, the New York Post reported.

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