Mr. Noren is concerned, he said, that when he now goes to events at MSG’s venues, his face is still tracked and his behavior closely monitored.
Woodrow Hartzog, a law professor at Boston University, predicts that as more cases pop up involving businesses face-scanning their customers, people will play “Whac-a-Mole,” searching among old laws for protection. Professor Hartzog said facial recognition technology should be banned, because though it could be used in beneficial ways, to spot security threats, for example, it would also, inevitably, be used in objectionable ways.
“A habitual bad fan can be spotted almost instantaneously,” he said. “But in every world where that’s true, it is also true that those in power can utilize facial recognition to spot anyone that criticizes them or anyone that they don’t like, and so that power can be used indiscriminately against all of us.”
Alan Greenberg is a fan of Jerry Seinfeld. He is also, through his firm Greenberg Law P.C., representing a fan who sued Madison Square Garden after being assaulted at a Rangers game. That meant it could be tricky for him to attend a Seinfeld show at the Beacon Theater, which is owned by MSG Entertainment. He sued, so had a preliminary injunction in hand when he attended the show — but he also grew a beard to try to evade facial recognition.
Lawyers may not be the most sympathetic victims and their need to be entertained may not be the most compelling of causes. But their plight, Mr. Greenberg said, should raise alarms about how the use of this technology could spread. Businesses, for instance, might turn people away based on their political ideology, comments they’d made online or whom they work for.
“Lawyers may not be the most favored class,” he said, “but it could be expanded to any other class of individuals.”