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

Benjamin Pinczewski happens to be a New York Rangers fan and member of the law firm currently working on the lawsuit against Madison Square Garden. Recently, when he attended one of his bouts on Broadway Home of the Blueshirts, he found himself rudely given a boot by “the most famous arena in the world.”

MSG, under CEO James Dolan, has led to accusations that it regularly uses facial recognition technology to keep certain individuals out of its gardens that management doesn’t want. According to State Senator Brad Hoylman, Pintchewski is the fourth person to be recently expelled from MSG as a result of the programme.

Hoylman, along with a coalition of members of social justice organizations and other elected officials, rallied outside MSG on Sunday to denounce the use of facial recognition software and accused Dolan of targeting personal enemies. condemned.

“There is a pattern of punishing what James Dolan sees as corporate adversaries, lawyers employed by the law firm that is actively suing Madison Square Garden Entertainment. New Yorkers, and frankly, any 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. “Madison Square Garden Entertainment says it uses facial recognition technology for security purposes to keep fans safe. Through these examples, James Dolan and Madison Square Garden We found that they care less about the safety of their fans and more about corporate retribution.”

Senator Brad Hoyleman. Photo by Dean Moses
Elected officials and privacy advocates held a press conference outside Madison Square Garden on Jan. 15 to demand the deprecation of facial recognition technology for fans. Photo by Dean Moses

Hoylman and fellow elected senators, including Liz Krueger, Brian Kavanaugh and council member Erik Bottcher, revealed a letter the politician had sent to Dolan demanding that he immediately stop using the technology. If this practice continues, the speaker is demanding that MSG lose its liquor license and duty-free status.

“If you work at a law firm and you work at a big law firm, you better start making a really long list of places you can never go to again. And that’s crazy. No reason,” Kruger said.

Defenders emphasized that MSG is abusing facial recognition technology and weaponizing this power to discriminate against patrons and steal personal information. In doing so, those attending the press conference shared their concern that if MSG is unstoppable, who else will abuse this form of technology?

MSG security guards watched the press conference closely. Photo by Dean Moses

“If you could retaliate in this way, who would actually sue the biggest companies in the country?” said Albert Fox Kahn, executive director of the Surveillance Technology Surveillance Project. “If MSG can do this to lawyers suing companies, it can also target employees and customers suing companies for violating the law. If you can ban New Yorkers from Rangers games, you can also ban them from grocery stores and pharmacies. are ripe for abuse, cities and states are long past banning them, and giving corporations, the wealthy, and governments the ability to track nearly everyone at any given time is a recipe for disaster.”

In response to these allegations, MSG emphasizes that the company does not retain images of individuals unless they have been notified in advance that the person has been barred from entering the venue. , claims it has the right to defend itself during legal proceedings.

“MSG has enacted a straightforward policy prohibiting attorneys from companies with ongoing lawsuits against us from attending events at the venue until the lawsuit is resolved. While we understand that some will be disappointed, we cannot ignore the fact that litigation creates an inherently hostile environment.All attorneys affected have been informed of the policy. The lawyers who have received them remain clear that they are welcome to return to our venues as soon as the lawsuits are resolved,” a MSG representative said in a statement.

Madison Square Garden. Photo by Dean Moses

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