New York pols want to ban rental buildings from using facial recognition technology

Bill is sponsored by state Sen. Brad Hoylman
May 20, 2019 08:15AM

State Sen. Brad Hoylman claims that it is a breach of tenant privacy (Credit: iStock)

State Sen. Brad Hoylman claims that it is a breach of tenant privacy (Credit: iStock)

Landlords are increasingly looking to install smart tech in their buildings. But soon, facial recognition software may be off the table.

State Sen. Brad Hoylman is sponsoring a bill that would ban facial recognition technology from being used in rental buildings, claiming that it is a breach of tenant privacy, according to Curbed. State Assemblyman Latrice Walker has introduced a similar bill in the assembly.

The installation of smart technology has already become an issue in both of their districts. In Hoylman’s district, residents of a building in Hell’s Kitchen sued their landlord after the building switched to a keyless entry system, and Nelson Management, the owner of Atlantic Plaza Towers in Walker’s district, wants to install facial recognition technology in his building over the objections of many tenants.

The technology, which has stoked fears of heightened levels of surveillance, was banned in San Francisco last week, with lawmakers calling it a civil rights issue.

The New York bill would ban landlords from obtaining, retaining, accessing or using any semi-automated or automated facial recognition technology, and allow the New York Attorney General to issue an injunction against its use or impose fines.

“New Yorkers have an expectation of privacy in their homes,” Hoylman said in a statement to Curbed. “Facial recognition systems would give landlords the ability to track, at the very least, every entry and exit of their tenants and guests.” [Curbed] – Eddie Small