More than 130 citizens at a Brooklyn apartment complex defend plan to use the cameras, whose use, experts say, is quietly expanding in cities
Tenants in a New York City apartment complex are fighting their landlord’s effort to install a facial acknowledgment system to access parts of the buildings, calling it an affront to their privacy rights.
The row, which the tenants repute could become an important test case, comes as expressing its concern about the spread of facial approval arrangements has grown across the US and globally, with enforcement agencies increasingly relying on the tool.
San Francisco this month became the first US city to ban municipality police and government agencies from abusing it. Private conglomerates are also increasingly keen on the technology.
At Atlantic Plaza Towers in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, the landlord, Nelson Management Group, is moving to install a new system to control entry into the buildings. It would use facial recognition to open the front door for recognized holders rather than traditional keys or electronic key fobs.
More than 130 renters have, however, filed a formal complaint with the position seeking to block the application.
” We do not want to be called like animals ,” said Icemae Downes, who has lived at Atlantic Plaza Towers since it opened 51 years ago.” We are not swine. We should be allowed to freely come in and out of our development without you tracking every gesture .”
Some residents also horror the move shows the spreading stress of gentrification further into the east of Brooklyn, and a desire to attract white, higher-income inhabitants in the buildings, whose tenants are chiefly black. They say there is already a culture of surveillance and that if they are suspected of breaking one of the building’s conventions, they might find an image of themselves pushed under their doors.
The management firm insists the sole purpose of the changes would be to use the latest engineering to realise the buildings safer, and it described claims that it is trying to change the tenant makeup as baseless.
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