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The Tenants Fighting Back Against Facial Recognition Technology

The landlord of a rent-stabilized apartment in Brooklyn wants to install a facial recognition security system, sparking a debate about privacy and surveillance.
A poster representing facial recognition at a security conference in Beijing, China, where authorities have aggressively invested in the controversial technology.
A poster representing facial recognition at a security conference in Beijing, China, where authorities have aggressively invested in the controversial technology.Thomas Peter/Reuters

Last year, residents of Atlantic Plaza Towers, a rent-stabilized apartment building in Brooklyn, found out that their landlord was planning to replace the key fob entry system with facial recognition technology. The goal, ostensibly, was to modernize the building’s security system.

But some residents were immediately alarmed by the prospect: They felt the landlord’s promise of added security was murky at best, and didn’t outweigh their concerns about having to surrender sensitive biometric information to enter their own homes. Last week, lawyers representing 134 concerned residents of the building filed an objection with the state housing regulator. It is the first visible opposition in New York City to the deployment of such technology in the residential realm.