As we slink ever closer to the horrific reality of an Orwellian and dystopian future of personal surveillance, we’ve not reached a troubling watershed moment in this evolution.
That’s because Madison Square Garden, one of the most iconic sports and concert venues in the nation, has just used facial recognition to remove a law firm employee from an event on account of a case that someone in their firm is working on against MSG’s parent company.
When Kelly Conlon joined her daughter’s Girl Scout troop for a fun outing to see the Rockettes perform their Christmas Spectacular show at Radio City Music Hall in New York, she had no idea she would end up booted from the show once she entered the building.Advertisement - story continues below
Security stopped Conlon, NBC New York reported, because she is a New Jersey lawyer. It seems that Madison Square Garden Entertainment has begun using facial recognition technology to identify any visitor to any of its venues—including Radio City Music Hall—who is involved with any law firm that is actively involved in litigation against MSG Entertainment.
Conlon has never practiced law in New York nor personally been involved in litigation against MSG Entertainment. Instead, she is guilty by association, as an associate for Davis, Saperstein and Solomon, which has spent years tangled up in litigation against a restaurant that NBC reported is “now under the umbrella of MSG Entertainment.”
The incident was downright terrifying.
According to Conlon, she became aware of this supposed conflict of interest when security guards approached her in the Radio City Music Hall lobby just as she passed through the metal detector. Over the speakers, Conlon heard a warning about a woman in a gray scarf, then security confirmed the warning was about her, telling her, “Our recognition picked you up.”
The venue has been utilizing this invasive technology for years.
A New York Times report suggests that MSG began using facial recognition technology in 2018 to “bolster security.” MSG venues post signs to notify visitors that the technology is being used. Ars could not immediately reach Conlon for comment, but she told NBC that she posed no threat at the Rockettes show, insisting, “I was just a mom taking my daughter to see a Christmas show.” She described her experience as “embarrassing” and “mortifying.”
One has to wonder what’s next as we travel down this tyrannical road. Will McDonald’s executive be banned from ordering at Burger King? Will folks with CostCo memberships get booted out of Sam’s Club? Will Coca Cola Employees be barred from attending events sponsored by Pepsi?