S.T.O.P. Welcomes NYC’s Proposed Limits on Residential Facial Recognition, Urges More Protections


For Immediate Release

S.T.O.P. Welcomes NYC’s Proposed Limits on Residential Facial Recognition, Urges More Protections

[NEW YORK, NY, 8/15/2019] -- Today, the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (S.T.O.P.), a New York-based privacy group, welcomed the New York City Council’s proposed limits on landlords’ use of facial recognition, but it urged the council to adopt stronger protections against biometric surveillance. The bill, which was introduced by Council Member Donovan Richards, would require building owners to annually register biometric surveillance systems (including facial recognition and fingerprint scanners) with the city’s department of information, technology, and telecommunications.

SEE: Council moves to regulate facial recognition technology
Bill Text
“We commend Council Member Richards for fighting for New Yorkers’ privacy,” said Surveillance Technology Oversight Project Executive Director Albert Fox Cahn. “While we agree that New Yorkers should be protected from facial recognition in our own homes, we believe that law enforcement facial recognition is the more urgent threat.”
The measure is introduced as Council Member Richards faces growing pressure to support the leading city council measure on reforming police surveillance: the Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology “POST” Act. Richards, who chairs the City Council’s Public Safety Committee has still yet to schedule a committee hearing for the POST Act, which was introduced 18 months ago and already has 25 of 51 city council members as cosponsors.
Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology (POST) Act Overview Website
Bill Text: https://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=3343878&GUID=996ABB2A-9F4C-4A32-B081-D6F24AB954A0
Cahn continued, “We are concerned that after a year and a half, Chair Richards has still not scheduled a hearing for the city’s leading police surveillance reform bill: The POST Act. If the council is willing to address the threat of private companies using facial recognition, it’s long past time they do the same for the NYPD. We have already seen thousands of New Yorkers arrested, many wrongly, because of the NYPD’s facial recognition system.
In Recent weeks, S.T.O.P. had called for other limits on law enforcement surveillance, including protections against “reverse search warrants.” This powerful new tool that allows police and prosecutors to obtain electronic records from hundreds or even thousands of New Yorkers at a time.
SEE: S.T.O.P. Condemns Manhattan DA Reverse Search Warrant As ‘Digital Dragnet’

The Surveillance Technology Oversight Project is a non-profit advocacy organization and legal services provider hosted by the Urban Justice Center. S.T.O.P. litigates and advocates for privacy, fighting excessive local and state-level surveillance. Our work highlights the discriminatory impact of surveillance on Muslim Americans, immigrants, and communities of color.
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CONTACT: STOP Executive Director Albert Fox Cahn;
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