NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) Madison Square Garden has reportedly been quietly implementing facial-recognition technology to identify those who enter the venue.
The technology is used to bolster security, several sources confirmed to the New York Times. It uses cameras to capture images of faces, then an algorithm to compare the images to a database of photographs. Sometimes the technology is used for marketing and promotions, the paper reported.
“MSG continues to test and explore the use of new technologies to ensure we’re employing the most effective security procedures to provide a safe and wonderful experience for our guests,” MSG said in a statement to the Times but a spokeswoman declined to elaborate.
The sources, who were granted anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on behalf of MSG, could not confirm when the technology was installed, nor how many events it has been used at. However, the Times noted that the system puts the venue “in the vanguard of professional sports facilities” and that it already had tight security and a heavy police presence because of its location in New York and above Penn Station.
“In a lot of places we will see facial recognition framed positively as just an extension of video surveillance,” Clare Garvie, an associate at the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law Center., told the paper “But the reality is it is a way to require, or in secret, have everyone in a crowd show their papers, essentially, to compare them to a big enough database.”
Meanwhile, the Dallas Mavericks have reportedly contracted with Suspect Technologies to experiment with facial recognition outside the team’s locker room and throughout its host venue, American Airlines Center. A spokeswoman for the Sacramento Kings added that the Golden 1 Center has facial recognition technology used to identify players and staff entering the practice facility connected to the building.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said that the technology said that the technology still doesn’t improve his arena’s ability to keep out unwanted patrons.
“In the private sector, facial recognition is really only as good as the database it is compared against,” Oak View Group chief security adviser Michael Downing told the Times.