Draconian face ID tech is intensifying

Can a business use face ID tech to ban people it has beef with?

When Kelly Conlon took her daughter to see the Rockettes at NYC’s Radio City Music Hall, guards wouldn’t let her in, per NBC.

Why? Facial recognition software had ID’d her as a lawyer whose firm is involved in a lawsuit against the venue’s parent company, MSG Entertainment.

Facial recognition tech…

… has been used in a variety of ways, including:

  • By conservations to track seals
  • By police in India to enforce covid mask mandates
  • By schools to track students and visitors for security and attendance purposes

Sixteen major US airports are currently testing the tech for passenger screening.

It’s a controversial technology.

There are concerns over privacy, government overreach, and inaccuracy. The tech is worse at ID-ing women and people of color than white men, and its use in the US has led to wrongful arrests.

But this case

… is interesting because a business is using the tech to ban specific people who’ve done nothing wrong.

In June, MSG banned all lawyers from firms suing it from its venues — even if, like Conlon, they aren’t involved with that particular case.

Conlon’s firm — Davis, Saperstein and Salomon — has complained to the state liquor authority, which requires all licensees allow the “general public,” and an investigation is pending.

Other firms have sued over the ban

In November, one judge decided that, under state law, MSG could ban lawyers from sporting events, but not concerts or shows. Another called MSG’s policy the “stupidest thing” she’d ever read, per Reuters.

Still, MSG maintains that litigation “creates an inherently adversarial environment,” and that private businesses have the right to limit entry.

We’ll have to see how things shake out, but hopefully it’s not a precedent for AI-driven dystopian pettiness.

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