Civil Rights Teams, Lawmakers Name On New York To ‘Ban The Scan’, Outlaw Facial Recognition

On Tuesday, Amnesty International, the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP), New York attorney Jumaane Williams, New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, the Legal Aid Society, the National Action Network, Warriors In The Garden, the Immigrant Defense Project , New York Civil The Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and other advocates held an online press conference calling on New York City and New York State to ban scanning and the government’s use of facial recognition.

Proponents say facial recognition poses an immediate threat to the safety and civil rights of New Yorkers, especially the BIPOC communities. New York would join a growing number of cities and states that have banned facial recognition, including Boston, San Francisco, Portland, and Vermont.

“Face recognition can be armed by law enforcement agencies against marginalized communities around the world. From New Delhi to New York, this invasive technology is turning against us and undermining human rights, ”he said Amnesty International AI and human rights researcher Matt Mahmoudi. “New Yorkers should be able to go about their everyday lives without being tracked by face recognition. Other major cities in the US have already banned facial recognition, and New York must do the same. “

“For years, the NYPD has used facial recognition to track down tens of thousands of New Yorkers, placing New Yorkers with color at risk of false arrest and police violence.” Albert Fox Cahn, Executive Director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project. “The ban on facial recognition not only protects civil rights, but is a matter of life and death. Every time an innocent person is wrongly accused, face recognition places them in police crosshairs. As the murder of Eric Garner and so many others demonstrated, any police encounter can be fatal, especially for black New Yorkers. Alarmingly, the NYPD has used the same technology to spy on BLM protesters and prosecute dissent rather than crime. “

Proponents are calling on New York State to pass Senate Bill S79, which would prohibit law enforcement’s use of biometric surveillance technologies, including facial recognition. The groups also called on New York City to enact a comprehensive ban on the use of facial recognition by city authorities. Despite considerable pressure, the New York City Council has not yet tabled such a bill.

“Facial recognition is a biased and ineffective technology that puts New Yorkers at risk of harassment from police and prosecutors,” he said Brad Hoylman, New York State Senator. “For this reason, I and Congregation member Deborah Glick introduced laws (p.79) to immediately end the use of facial recognition and other biometric surveillance technologies by law enforcement agencies. Thanks to attorney Jumaane Williams, my constituent Derrick Ingram, STOP Amnesty International, the Legal Aid Society, the National Action Network, the Immigrant Defense Project, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and NYCLU for supporting our legislation and for your work in the fight against this dangerous threat to our privacy and civil liberties. “

“Facial recognition is just the latest in bias-based policing, a digital stop and a frisk,” he said New York District Attorney Jumaane D. Williams. “This technology is a tool of oppression. It’s biased, flawed, and its implementation will match the systemic prejudices we’ve seen in a long time – a federal study found that there were between 10 and 100 times more false matches between black and white men than between white men. We need measures from the city and state to ban the scan and to take over this facial recognition, which cannot be an instrument of public safety, but represents a threat to them. “

“Face surveillance poses an unprecedented threat to the privacy and civil liberties of all, and enables the invasive force to keep track of who we are, where we go and who we meet,” he said NYCLU Privacy and Technology Strategist Daniel Schwarz. “The technology is known to be racially biased – especially for women and people with skin color inaccurate – and has been used in flawed, unscientific ways by the NYPD for the past decade. We must ban face surveillance by the government, particularly by law enforcement, and in other areas where our fundamental rights are at stake. “

“Over the past few decades Immigration and Customs Enforcement (better known as ICE) has invested significantly in expanding its ability to monitor, arrest and deport people,” he said Senior Policy Associate of the Immigrant Defense Project Jose Chapa. “This involved sharing information and technology with the police – including biometric data like fingerprints and potentially facial recognition data. It is generally accepted that surveillance in the United States has grown to problematic levels that violate privacy, civil and human rights. New York City and State have the option to contain this violation. For this reason, we demand that our elected officials ban facial recognition technology, especially when we are breaking new technological ground. “

“Face recognition is an invasive and flawed technology that has already resulted in false arrests,” he said Legal Aid Society’s Digital Forensics Division Regulatory Attorney Jerome D. Greco. “The consequences of abuse affect a disproportionately large number of people of color, women, young people, transgender people and people who violate gender. We cannot allow law enforcement agencies to hide behind technology to justify and perpetuate the prejudices and injustices that already exist in the criminal justice system. New York must ban government agencies’ use of facial recognition, as other jurisdictions have already done. “

The speakers also urged the public to take direct action. The Ban the Scan website contains a petition in support of facial recognition legislation and a public comment portal for the NYPD. The comment portal uses the Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology (POST) law, a recently enacted New York transparency law. Under the POST Act, the NYPD is required to review public comments on surveillance technology, including facial recognition, by February 25, 2021.

Media contact: Mariya Parodi, Senior Press Officer, Amnesty International USA, [email protected]

STOP managing director Albert Fox Cahn; [email protected].

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