PRIVACY WARNING: New York City Landlords Trying To Use Facial Recognition

The landlords of a rent-controlled building in New York City are trying to switch from a fob key system for entry into the building to a facial recognition system for entry. (Read more at the NYTimes)

What makes this doubly alarming is that some tenants did not even receive their mail because they refused to be photographed to obtain a new key. This is TWO privacy issues at Atlantic Plaza Towers.

Because of this, some tenants gathered in the building lobby to ensure that other tenants knew that this privacy-violating and dangerous facial recognition system was being installed in the building:

In order to let neighbors who might not have seen the letter know what was potentially coming, five tenants convened in the lobby of one of the two buildings on a late October morning to spread the word. A few days later, those five tenants — like most of the residents at Atlantic, black women — received a notice from property management with pictures of the gathering taken from a security camera; they were told that the lobby was not “a place to solicit, electioneer, hang out or loiter.”

The Landlord Wants Facial Recognition in Its Rent-Stabilized Buildings. Why? — New York Times

Facial recognition has many valid uses, but in this case, the tenants are stakeholders who absolutely should be consulted before any such system is installed. Landlords are entitled to increase security for tenants (the excuse made for installing facial recognition), but they have to consider it a proposal that they have to present to tenants. If a tenant chose to use facial recognition to allow access to their own unit, they would, without a doubt, have to consult the landlord before they did so. The same should be true for landlords. They must consult with tenants or they will be violating the privacy rights of hundreds of people.

…a state housing agency will decide whether Nelson Management can install the software or not. Housing lawyers at Brooklyn Legal Services are helping tenants in their opposition.

The Landlord Wants Facial Recognition in Its Rent-Stabilized Buildings. Why? — New York Times

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