Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics



  • Subway Shooting Showcases Surveillance’s Shortcomings

    Command center (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    They had been planning for this moment for years, for decades, the moment terror took to the train and targeted the beating, rumbling heart of our city. Even prior to 9/11, but especially in its wake, NYPD officials called for billions in investment to prevent and respond to an attack on underground commuter arteries, and they got every penny they wanted. Money poured in to monitor, record, and remember seemingly every aspect of our commuting life, and when a gunman made the unthinkable carnage

  • Mayor Must Veto Bill Passed by City Council That Will Only Make AI Bias Worse

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    Technology at hand (photo: Edwin J. Torres/ Mayoral Photo Office)

    For years, people have worried that one day robots would replace all of our jobs, but today, they already can decide if you get one. And even worse, they’re racist. That’s the dystopian reality of artificial intelligence tools screening job applicants, automating and amplifying racism and sexism. Racism runs rampant in human hiring, but AI is even worse. And thanks to a bill that the New York City Council just passed, the robots are likely here to stay. If signed or allowed to

  • Surveillance and The City: NYC’s Delivery Data Dilemma

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    Delivery (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)

    Small restaurants have always been the lifeblood of New York City, and as we struggle to emerge from the devastation of the past year, the New York City Council is right to support these crucial businesses. The sweeping shift we saw in restaurant regulation in 2020 saved New York City dining as we know it, including expanded outdoor dining, reducing permit requirements, and (most enjoyably) allowing drinks to go. But this legislative effort has taken an unappetizing turn with the Council’s latest set of

  • Surveillance and the City: Online Bar Exam, Remote Learning Fuel In-Home Surveillance

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    Inside the mayor's digital briefing (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

    Standardized testing has never been fun for students, but in the age of COVID-19, it’s positively nightmarish. As the pandemic forces students and teachers around the globe to stay home, every part of education has suffered, but test administration has completely collapsed. Recently, despite public outcry, more than 10,000 law school graduates sat for the bar exam, putting their careers and livelihoods in the balance. The bar exam used software that was and remains shoddy, invasive, and likely

  • The City is Committed to Protecting Your Privacy During the Coronavirus Crisis

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    Taking coronavirus calls at 311 (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

    Your personal information is just that: personal. Even during a pandemic, it’s important that we make sure that New Yorkers’ privacy is protected to the maximum extent possible, both during the emergency and in anticipation of the aftermath once the pandemic resolves.

    As New York City’s Chief Privacy Officer (CPO), I am dedicated to protecting New Yorkers’ privacy. I lead a team of dedicated lawyers who staff the Mayor’s Office of Information Privacy and work year-round to safeguard

  • We Deserve The Right To Be Forgotten

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    (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)

    An old school newspaper editor once told me through a cloud of cigar smoke, “The accusation? That's front page news. The acquittal? You're lucky if that makes the paper at all.” 

    Being “innocent until proven guilty” is one of the most sacred tenets of the American criminal justice system. But in the modern digital age, “innocence” is something the acquitted or the wrongfully accused never fully achieve, because, on the internet, their name stays forever affiliated with the crime for which they were

  • Surveillance and the City: Facing Up to Facial Recognition

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    (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)

    Sometimes City Hall politics can be surreal; too much spin can give you a case of political vertigo. But this week was remarkable even by the standards of the de Blasio administration, with talking points that felt like messages from a parallel universe. Time and again, we heard lofty statements about a city committed to protecting its residents’ privacy, a city sadly bearing no resemblance to our own.

    It started when the national facial recognition debate came to the City Council chambers. Months

  • Equifax Data Breach Highlights Corporations’ Troubling Use of Mandatory Arbitration and Need for Reform

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    (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

    Recently, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Letitia James announced that New York will receive $19 million from Equifax as part of a broader $700 million settlement for a massive data breach that took place in 2017. This settlement represents a clear victory for civil justice, but it also highlights how major corporations use underhanded mandatory arbitration policies to deny accountability and recourse to consumers.

    When news of the ...

  • The City Council's Dangerous Affront to Privacy

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    (photo: John McCarten)

    For more than 30 years, a variety of federal laws have protected the personal data of Americans online at a time of unprecedented technological development. These laws have helped foster the growth of many iconic American companies -- Amazon, Ebay, Google, Twitter, and Airbnb, just to name a few -- and create a thriving tech economy that employs hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, and many more from coast to coast.

    And yet, despite this extraordinary success, a bill pushed in the New York City Council by the hotel industry

  • Cy Vance and Jeff Sessions Versus Your Privacy

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    Manhattan DA Vance leads a press conference (photo: @NYPDnews)

    As an elected member of the state Assembly, one of my main priorities is to ensure New Yorkers have a government that works with them to protect their rights and their safety. That’s why I’ve become increasingly concerned by the steps Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance has taken to undermine digital privacy through his weak position on encryption protection.

    Americans are rightfully worried about the confidentiality of their electronic information, from financial documents