New York’s attorney general is investigating allegations that the owner of Madison Square Garden in Manhattan used facial recognition technology to bar lawyers involved in a lawsuit against the entertainment company from attending events.
Letitia James’ office said in a letter Tuesday to MSG Entertainment, which also owns Radio City Music Hall, that it said it had reviewed reports that thousands of attorneys at 90 firms had been blocked from accessing the company’s website. , which violates civil rights law.
“MSG Entertainment can’t litigate in its own space,” said James, whose office also worries that the technology could discriminate against minorities. “Anyone with tickets to the event need not worry that they may be wrongfully denied admission due to their appearance, and we urge MSG Entertainment to rescind this policy.”
MSG Entertainment did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Last year, New York attorney Larry Hutcher sued MSG in state court, claiming the company had revoked his basketball season tickets and barred him after he began representing the ticket distributor in a separate case against the company. He entered multiple venues.
Several other attorneys involved in the lawsuit against MSG told a Delaware court in November that they, too, had received letters barring them from MSG grounds — a policy the judge in the case called “the stupidest thing I’ve ever read.” “.
Gregory Varallo, a lawyer in the case, told the court that MSG “used facial recognition software to go in and scrape all the web pages of all the companies involved and then use that facial recognition software in gardens and other venues”.
He went on to mock “the idea that I’d been found out — that my nefarious plan to go to the garden and discuss litigation tactics with the pretzel vendor had been found out,” according to the lawsuit transcript.
A few days ago, the New York State Attorney General introduced a bill aimed at closing a loophole in the law and banning “wrongful denials” of admission at sporting events.
“MSG’s use of facial recognition technology . . . is an unacceptable invasion of privacy for all customers and a blatant attempt to intimidate and intimidate those who may want to be dealt with in court,” State Senator Liz Krueger said Monday. company people.
“In the face of MSG’s continued malfeasance, it is absolutely time for the City and State to reconsider all permits, licenses and benefits provided to MSG.”
The senator also claimed MSG rescinded invitations to local council members to MSG events because he attended a news conference about their use of facial recognition.