Madison Square Garden Using Facial Recognition Technology To Kick Out Legal Adversaries
In recent months, Madison Square Garden and its affiliated venues have used facial recognition technology to remove multiple lawyers from the premises because they’re employed by firms in active litigation against MSG. In a statement to Rolling Stone, a rep for Madison Square Garden Entertainment confirmed that in recent months the company adopted a policy banning their legal adversaries from their venues: “MSG instituted a straightforward policy that precludes attorneys from firms pursuing active litigation against the Company from attending events at our venues until that litigation has been resolved. While we understand this policy is disappointing to some, we cannot ignore the fact that litigation creates an inherently adversarial environment.”
The use of facial recognition technology at concerts, sporting events, and other large public gatherings has been an ethically thorny and controversial subject in recent years. Taylor Swift used it during her 2018 stadium tour to protect herself from stalkers, while a number of major festivals including Bonnaroo and Austin City Limits publicly opted out of using the tech in 2019, citing privacy concerns.
The lawyers ejected by MSG include Barbara Hart, an employee of Grant & Eisenhofer (who was escorted out of a Brandi Carlile concert with her husband) and Kelly Conlon, an associate at Davis, Saperstein, and Solomon (who was removed from a Radio City Rockettes show at Radio City Music Hall this week as her daughter and the rest of her Girl Scout troop were ushered in). Hart’s firm is combatting MSG Entertainment in a Delaware class-action suit, but Hart is not involved in the litigation. Nor is Conlon involved in her firm’s action against MSG. The new practice from MSG has led to a class action lawsuit on behalf of multiple lawfirms, but so far courts have ruled in favor of MSG with appeals pending.
Evan Greer, director of the organization Fight For The Future, which opposes the use of biometric security technology, told Rolling Stone, “This is the perfect example to show that these tools can be used in ways that are really alarming. In some ways, this is kind of an innocuous case — it’s not like [Conlon] was arrested. But the reality is that this was a corporation with what amounts to a petty grievance, using a deeply invasive surveillance apparatus in a way that left a mom sitting outside while her kid went into a concert.”