Facial recognition technology has notoriously failed Black people, with algorithms written by mostly white men that are biased and have a hard time differentiating between different skin colors, shades and genders.
Although face recognition tech is used by law enforcement, there’s insufficient training data to teach the algorithm what women are vs. men, and what people of darker shades are vs. lighter shades. The consequences have been catastrophic for Black people.
A recent incident at Radio City Music Hall involving the mother of a Girl Scout suggests the technology is being used to target perceived enemies.
A Girl Scout mom was kicked out of Radio City Music Hall due to where she works, NBC New York reported.
Kelly Conlon and her daughter went to New York’s Radio City Music Hall to see the Christmas Spectacular show. Conlon was stopped by security guards for Madison Square Garden Entertainment as she entered the lobby.
They had identified and zeroed in on her, asked her name and to produce identification, Conlon told NBC New York.
“I believe they said that our recognition picked you up,” Conlon said. “It was pretty simultaneous, I think, to me, going through the metal detector, that I heard over an intercom or loudspeaker. I heard them say woman with long dark hair and a grey scarf.”
Conlon is an associate with the New Jersey-based law firm, Davis, Saperstein and Solomon, which has been involved for years in personal injury litigation against a restaurant venue now under the umbrella of MSG Entertainment.
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“I don’t practice in New York. I’m not an attorney that works on any cases against MSG,” Conlon said. “They knew my name before I told them. They knew the firm I was associated with before I told them. And they told me I was not allowed to be there.”
MSG said Conlon was banned along with fellow attorneys in that firm and others.
“MSG instituted a straightforward policy that precludes attorneys 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 adverse environment. All impacted attorneys were notified of the policy, including Davis, Saperstein and Salomon, which was notified twice,” a spokesperson for MSG Entertainment said in a statement.
Rev. Conrad Tillard, the original “Hip-Hop Minister,” preacher, activist, professor, and talk show host, tweeted about the incident.
“This should be alarming to us all,” Tillard said.
Sam Davis, a partner at the law firm where Conlon works, said, “This whole scheme is a pretext for doing collective punishment on adversaries who would dare sue MSG in their multi-billion dollar network.”
Davis is challenging MSG’s license with the State Liquor Authority, NBC reported.
“The liquor license that MSG got requires them to admit members of the public, unless there are people who would be disruptive who constitute a security threat,” Davis said. “Taking a mother, separating a mother from her daughter and Girl Scouts she was watching over — and to do it under the pretext of protecting any disclosure of litigation information — is absolutely absurd. The fact they’re using facial recognition to do this is frightening. It’s un-American to do this.”
Images: Left: Kelly Conlon screenshot from NBC New York video, https://www.nbcnewyork.com/investigations/face-recognition-tech-gets-girl-scout-mom-booted-from-rockettes-show-due-to-her-employer/4004677/ Right: Black man’s wrongful Arrest With Facial Recognition,screenshot from NBC, Dec. 29, 2020, https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/man-sues-nj-police-after-wrongful-arrest-with-facial-recognition/2804531/