James Dolan responded to criticism of Madison Square Garden’s use of facial recognition technology during an appearance on Fox 5 in New York on Thursday, marking the first time the Knicks and Rangers owner has discussed facial recognition at his facilities Use of Technology. Here’s what you need to know:
- MSG — which owns two teams, the stadium and many other locations in New York City — has come under fire for using technology to identify ticket holders and prevent them from entering its grounds. Recent news reports have reported MSG barring lawyers from companies suing the group from its premises and using facial recognition to enforce those bans.
- Dolan, who heads MSG Sports and MSG Entertainment, the sports teams’ parent company and holding company for MSG-owned venues, downplayed the use of facial recognition and its seriousness, instead attacking State Liquor’s authority for criticizing MSG people and politicians.
- A company that banned its employees from using MSG said it would seek to have MSG’s liquor license revoked, according to reports. Dolan said Tuesday that he might ban the sale of alcohol at future Knicks or Rangers games to prove the point, and said MSG would post a photo of the state liquor authority’s chief executive on the field, along with his e-mail. email and phone number to encourage fans to contact him.
what dolan said
“Facial recognition is just a technology,” Dolan said in an interview. “When I walk into the studio, do you recognize my face? … Facial recognition. Technology just makes you better at it. The real problem going on here is that our policy is not to let a lawsuit go until it’s done Our lawyers come into our building.”
Dolan pointed out that there are many cameras in public places these days.
“What facial recognition does is it recognizes your face and says ‘are you on this list?’ If you’re a terrorist, it says ‘that’s a terrorist,'” he said. “Then appropriate action can be taken. It’s very, very useful for security.”
Dolan confirmed that MSG had received an inquiry from New York Attorney General Letitia James and said the company would answer her questions.
“Our values are also important to us,” Dolan said. “The garden has to defend itself. People say you’re too sensitive, you shouldn’t be defending yourself.”
He continued, “If you sue us, we’ll tell you not to come.”
“If you’re grandstanding in front of the media and threatening my liquor license, I’ll tell you, ‘Come on, take my liquor license away.’ People will still come to the game,” he said. “We’re not going to spend all our money on alcohol.”
Dolan added that the State Liquor Administration has contacted Madison Square Garden to request that its liquor license be revoked.
“It doesn’t bother me because I’ve been sober for 29 years,” he said. “I don’t need wine.”
Dolan also responded to criticism from New York state politicians. State Senator Liz Krueger wrote to the state Liquor Authority asking it to investigate whether MSG’s ban violated their liquor license. State Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal is co-sponsoring a bill that would prevent MSG from using facial recognition to ban people.
“There’s all sorts of politicians on board, but none for the right reasons,” Dolan said. “The attorney general is just asking questions. We’re happy to answer them.”
Dolan went on to note that MSG “is not a government entity, it’s a private company.”
After acknowledging that his teams got tax breaks, he said: “Every team in New York gets tax breaks. If you think we shouldn’t get tax breaks, then you should take them away from all the teams.”
Asked if he was concerned about laws that would prevent him from using facial recognition, Dolan said he wasn’t concerned, citing “something called a bill of rights.”
“A bakery, a restaurant, you can say who you serve,” he said. “For whatever reason.”
(Photo: Brad Penner/USA TODAY)