ALBANY — New York lawmakers want to ban facial recognition technology on all rental properties, arguing it infringes on tenant privacy.
New legislation would outlaw landlords from being able to “obtain, retain, access or use” the machinery on residential premises.
Violators could face up to $10,000 in penalties if the bill passes.
“New Yorkers have an expectation of privacy in their homes. Facial recognition systems would give landlords the ability to track, at the very least, every entry and exit of their tenants and guests,” argued bill sponsor state Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan).
“The technology is an instrument of discrimination: studies show, again and again, that facial recognition software is less accurate when analyzing faces of color. Its surge in popularity across our city — especially in residential buildings — is deeply alarming.”
In a 2018 study, MIT and Stanford University found discrepancies in recognition tech’s ability to distinguish differences in gender and some skin colors.
San Francisco became the first city in the nation Tuesday to ban the technology, although with carve-outs exempting certain federal sites.
Constituents in the district of Assembly bill sponsor Latrice Walker (D-Brooklyn) recently filed opposition with the New York State Homes and Community Renewal agency against the owners of Atlantic Plaza Towers in Brownsville, Brooklyn, who have plans to install a facial recognition system in the development.
The push comes as legislators are looking to renew and strengthen rent laws impacting New York City, Rockland, Westchester and Nassau counties.
They have until June 15 to reform existing laws.
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