Why a Facial Recognition Device Barred This Woman From a Rockettes Show

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Kelly Conlon’s bizarre experience gives a glimpse into a future with omnipresent facial recognition systems.

Last month, Kelly Conlon arrived with her daughter’s Girl Scout troop to watch a Rockettes performance at Radio City Music Hall, but she abruptly was denied entry. Why? Conlon works for a law firm the venue’s parent company had blacklisted. While the policy is unusual, Conlon was found out for an even more surprising reason: the venue’s use of facial recognition technology.

Conlon’s experience, while bizarre, gives a glimpse into a future with abundant facial recognition devices—one where our personal information can be accessed and used against us at a moment’s notice.

Just how Conlon ended up being turned away by security guards starts with a corporate grudge. According to NBC New York, Conlon is an attorney working for the New Jersey-based law firm Davis, Saperstein, and Solomon, which is currently involved in personal injury litigation against a restaurant owned by MSG Entertainment, the parent company which also owns Radio City Music Hall. A twist of this litigation is that the company decided that all attorneys working for law firms engaged in litigation against them are banned “from attending events at our venues until that litigation has been resolved.”

As Conlon describes, she was identified almost immediately by a facial recognition device. “It was pretty simultaneous, I think, to me, going through the metal detector, that I heard over an intercom or loudspeaker,” Conlon told NBC New York. “I heard them say woman with long dark hair and a grey scarf.” After being stopped by security, they demanded her name and ID and told her that facial recognition had picked her up.

“They knew my name before I told them. They knew the firm I was associated with before I told them. And they told me I was not allowed to be there,” Conlon told NBC New York.

By Emma Camp

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