Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

 

facial recognition

facial recognition

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    An NYPD command center (photo: Edward Reed/Mayor's Office)


    In the four months since the NYPD first published protocols limiting its use of facial recognition software, the coronavirus-caused state of emergency and recent civil unrest over police brutality made the considerable leeway in the policy all but total. Absent any formal legal framework at the city, state or federal level, the internal, non-binding departmental protocols are the only public policy governing New York's lawless frontier of biometric surveillance.

    The police department has insisted it

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    Facial recognition could be useful in the post-coronavirus world (photo: Security Industry Association)


    As a native New Yorker, I am saddened that New York has been hardest hit by the COVID-19 virus. The very way of life for New Yorkers – close living and working conditions, reliance on a round-the-clock crowded mass transit system, a vibrant restaurant and bar scene, movie and live performance theaters, national and international transportation hubs, sporting facilities with tens of thousands of seats and over a million children in the

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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

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