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Brooklyn Tenants Fight Landlord’s Plan to Install Facial Recognition System

The landlord filed an application last year to replace the key fob system with the proposed facial recognition solution, which is yet to be approved.

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Tenants of a high-rise in Brownsville, a residential neighborhood located in eastern Brooklyn, have filed a legal objection against a landlord’s request to install a facial recognition system.

More than 130 residents of Atlantic Plaza Towers, a 700-apartment complex, protested to block landlord Robert Nelson’s pending application to bring the controversial security system into the development, nbcnewyork.com reports.

The tenants are currently fighting the decision to replace the key fob entry system they use now with the proposed biometric solution.

“It’s my biometrics, it’s my identity and we don’t want that in anyone’s hands,” said tenant Tasliym Francis.

Residents currently use a key fob to enter three separate doors at the tower. The landlord filed an application last year to replace the key fob system with the proposed facial recognition solution, which is yet to be approved.

The management group of Atlantic Plaza Towers argues that safety is driving their decision to upgrade access control security to the tower.

“The sole goal of implementing this technology is to advance that priority and support the safety and security of residents,” the group said in a statement, adding that any data collected is encrypted and won’t be shared with third parties.

Attorneys for the residents maintain that the proposed security system from StoneLock, which generates biometric metadata for each tenant, would violate rent-stabilization laws which mandate landlords not interfere with tenants’ privacy or offer renewal leases with added terms and conditions.

They also raised concerns about biases embedded in facial recognition technology, which studies have shown attributes more negative emotions to black men’s faces and is less able to identify women.

The Department of Buildings says technologies like facial recognition are not prohibited, but can only be in addition to a more traditional key-based system, nbcnewyork.com reports.

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