Venues Using Facial Technology to Ban Enemies

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Venue Vengeance: Using Surveillance Technology to Punish Your Enemies

If you happen to work at a law firm that’s suing Madison Square Garden Entertainment (MSG) or the New York Knicks–or if you’ve annoyed the man who essentially owns them both–you may soon find yourself identified by facial recognition security cameras and booted from a live game or show. 

 

Knicks owner, MSG CEO, and famously bilious billionaire James L. Dolan has been sending out letters to inform opposing law firms and all of their associated lawyers that they are banned from all MSG’s properties, which include Radio City Music Hall, the Madison Square Garden Theater and arena (where the Knicks and the Rangers play home games), and other well-known venues in New York and around North America.

 

Nobody likes to be sued, so one may sympathize with Mr. Dolan’s attempt to foil the recreations of those who would work with his adversaries. One may also admire Mr. Dolan’s ambition: enforcing a ban of this scope would have been unfathomable in the past.

 

It’s true that an especially perceptive security guard may learn to recognize handfuls of individuals on sight, even in large crowds, but another level of perceptiveness entirely is required to recognize any of the hundreds of lawyers who happen to work at any of the law firms with pending cases against MSG. 

 

Yet, with the aid of facial-recognition security cameras, Mr. Dolan’s security team has already expelled two lawyers from recent events at MSG venues. 

 

A week after Thanksgiving, lawyer Kelly Conlon became aware of groundbreaking advancements in facial recognition technology when she attempted to chaperone her daughter’s Girl Scout troop to the Rockettes’ “Christmas Spectacular” show at Radio City Music Hall. Upon being flagged by the camera system, Ms. Conlon was approached by security personnel and told to leave the premises. “They knew my name before I told them,” Conlon said. “They knew the firm I was associated with before I told them. And they told me I was not allowed to be there.”

 

In another recent incident, Long Island attorney Alexis Majano was removed from a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden after the camera system recognized his face. “I was upset,” Mr. Majano said about being told to leave the game. “We had a whole night planned out that got botched.”

 

Interfering with an attorney’s plans for the night is risky behavior for anyone who doesn’t like to be sued. Two lawyers are already taking legal action against MSG for the ban against them and their firms. 

 

In other words, they are suing MSG for banning them for suing them. 

 

Those lawyers and their firms have received temporary restraining orders to prevent their removal from events, a development that may inspire additional banned lawyers and their firms to seek legal recourse. Unless these ban-inspired lawsuits will all be handled in-house, one may expect ever-expanding circles of bans and legal actions about bans ad infinitum.

Mammoth Security cannot endorse Mr. Dolan’s novel but frivolous application of security technology. The takeaway from these controversies is that today’s facial-recognition security cameras can reliably support bans on your own unwanted guests, including any vandals and shoplifters whom you wish to keep off your property.

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