"This whole scheme is a pretext for doing collective punishment..."
Hard to disagree.
Words like petty and spiteful come to mind.
A Girl Scout troop trip to see the Rockettes in New York City didn't go as planned for mom Kelly Conlon, who was turned away at the door of Radio City Music Hall because a facial recognition system pinned her as a prohibited person. The reason, Conlon told NBC New York, was because she's an associate at New Jersey law firm …
Yet, entirely legal. Call MSG petty and spiteful all you like, but they've been entirely clear and upfront and it's easy to see why they wouldn't want lawyers attending their sites. And don't forget we're not talking illegal discrimination against a protected characteristic, but completely legal discrimination with a legitimate rationale (whether you agree with it or not).
Anyone who thinks the law firm didn't know this could happen is naïve. In fact, I'd be very surprised if they didn't *hope* this would happen: a great way to get a lot of emotional, negative publicity focused on MSG.
completely legal discrimination
Nope, as they point out at the end of the article, their liquor license requires them to admit anyone that isn't being a disturbance. There's no loophole for keeping out "lawyers we hate"
"their liquor license requires them to admit anyone that isn't being a disturbance"
I'm pretty sure casinos sell alcohol, yet they exclude anyone who they think will win too much money. The liquor license thing looks to me like something about which lawyers are happy to bicker over minorly varying interpretations of wording, all the while racking up enormous fees, ie could be legal, could be not, quite possibly we might get to know after a court case, appeal, appeal to the appeal, and 5 years from now a verdict will be issued at which point no one will even remember, know or care except for the lawyers on both sides fattening their purses over something completely inconsequential.
Liquor laws vary from state to state, so a casino in Nevada will be under a different licensing law than one in New York. Don’t know what the laws are for NY so it may be illegal to bar someone as MSG did. As the other party are lawyers you’d think they’d probably have checked this carefully.
I was thinking along the same lines. Although I'd reckon on the Right Side of the Pond, the £Corp would know its entitlement and only take a legal stance well-confident of that, or concede and settle. The UK lawyers (assuming prosecution) wouldn't bother in that situation, they'd be outed and laughed at. There are unscrupulous firms though. I really don't know, but it seems to me that on the Left Side, lawyers will create a shit storm regardless.
On the right side of the pond licensing laws allow the staff to refuse anyone, at least they did when I worked as a barman. Drunk people rarely make much sense so the law allows you to just say no without the need to get into any argument.
There was of course the famous case of the Fleet Street bar who refused to serve women at the bar which was found to be illegal as it's obviously sexual discrimination. But the publican could still refuse to serve the woman involved so long as he didn't say he was refusing to serve her because she was a woman.
BTW, not happy about the use of mass surveillance tech like this.
Yes, I was going to mention the UK law as a reference: right to refuse service regardless. Compare it to Belgium law, which is "You must allow a person entry (to a bar) unless they're drunk/abusive/etc
I wasn't clear in that I didn't specifically state a wider scope: my point was more about the unwillingness of UK lawyers to create a case out of nothing.
It seems you misread the point. If they have a liquor license, they don’t have to serve liquor to everybody, but you have to let anyone have access to your premises.
And it should be obvious that if you don’t let a woman join her children because she happens to be a lawyer, she will be pissed off and she and her colleagues will do their best to piss you off.
> It seems you misread the point.
I would reply likewise.
I was answering the specific question about the licensing laws on the right sight on the pond. I know little about the terms of liquor licenses in the US other than that I know they vary from state to state and that in Vermont (& Norway) you're not allowed to be served another drink if you've already got one in front on you, so drinking in rounds slows down to the pace of the slowest drinker.
Still my comment was about the licensing laws in the UK.
Here the publican or barman can decide to exclude you without giving a reason. Here at least they aren't obliged to allow anyone in. There are parts of the country where the pubs cooperate on this and if you get banned from one you'll find that no local establishment will allow you in either.
"BTW, not happy about the use of mass surveillance tech like this."
It's here to stay. Many shops use it to exclude or at least obviously surveil people that have been caught or suspected of shoplifting previously. A bar may not have the same staff on duty from night to night or week to week and might use such a system to deny entry to somebody that often has a few too many and gets into fights. I worked on the door at a bar and there would be no way to maintain a list and check each person as they entered. It took time to get to know who not to let in.
It's just a tool and should only be used to narrow down the people that need to be looked at closer. Stores will already identify people based on Bluetooth ID's and MAC addresses from their phones.
Well a disturbance, is anything the disturbs anything, unless specifically qualified and limited which in this verbage is not.
I'm sure it is quite disturbing to the venue and it's staff to to have an active soldier for a legal-Army offsides and deep within the Homeland of their business.
There are natural consequences to taking sides. These lawyers enjoy many extra privileges within society . It is only fair that they accept deficit to match.
Not sure why all the downvotes for this comment. It IS absolutely petty and spiteful to refuse entry, but I would think perfectly legal*. It's their own premises, they get to decide who enters and who doesn't. It's no difference whether it's a giant multinational or a local corner restaurant.
*Note IANAL and the alcohol license thing seems like a spurious lawyerly argument to me, I'm talking general principle of 'my house my rules' as long as other general statutes are not violated. Working at a particular law firm is not a protected characteristic.
It is an intersting point of law, especially nowadays under 'equal opportunities' and 'anti-...ism' legislation.
If I open my premises to 'the public' I am, perhaps, duty bound to allow the 'public' in unless I can show just and 'legal' reason why a certain individual should not be admitted.
The mere fact that I 'don't like them' is not a just or legal reason.
Obviously this has yet to be fought out (very expensively) in court, but the principle would appear sound.
"If I open my premises to 'the public' I am, perhaps, duty bound to allow the 'public' in unless I can show just and 'legal' reason why a certain individual should not be admitted.
The mere fact that I 'don't like them' is not a just or legal reason."
Not really, the premises are still privately owned and operated.
The Covid mask issue has allowed people the erroneous assumption that inviting the public to have access in your private-owned commercial space is sacrosanct. You are a guest in any privately-owned commercial space, regardless of the fact that said space is "open to the public" for the sake of allowing access for business or pleasure. As a guest you follow the rules, whatever they may be.
"We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone".
Now, having said that, I'm not happy they use facial recognition for such things. Minority Report-style facial recognition surveillance seems just around the corner if we don't regulate and limit such things.
I take your point, but the question will be a matter of law in the light of current legislation - not what you or I happen to think suits us, or what has applied in the past.
Arguably the rationale you set out allows a 'business entity' to pick and choose which members of 'the public' it will allow to enter, except that it is not operating a 'private club', but an offer that is open to 'the public'. Unless an individual is known to be wanted for 'criminal activity' there is arguably no justification for that member of 'the public' to be treated any differently from any other member of 'the public'. And there is, arguably, absolutely no justification for trawling through social media profiles, or internet scrapes generally, in order to deliberately target certain individuals.
Under modern 'equal rights' legislation operating in many countries today tit would seem likely that a pretty strong case could be argued for saying that 'open to the public' means exactly that—no ifs or buts—with the exception of anyone who is 'of interest' to the Police and security services.
As noted in the article, they're in violation of the terms of their liquor license.
Because people need to have a job to live, place of employment should be a protected characteristic; if this sort of thing is legal, then that just means there is an urgent need to amend the laws so that it is strictly illegal.
A suitable penalty would be to allow her to collect punitive damages of the sum total of the firm's assets. That would ensure no other company would think about behaving this way in future.
Really? You want to let a *US personal injury lawyer* onto your restaurant premises who has literally been suing your firm for years? Just because she pinky promise swears she’s on personal time, and definitely won’t “slip” on a sachet of ketchup? Wow.
So, do you think it would be reasonable for a nationwide supermarket chain to ban any and all lawyers from a firm that has acted against them on instructions from a client? Or would that be a way, as this clearly is, of using your commercial dominance to send a message "Dare to use you rights under the law against us and we'll punish your for it.".
Usual answer: that depends on the circumstances. What raised my red flag is that this was an ongoing case, over many years. In other words, suing that company pays the mortgage of at least a couple of the 29 lawyers on payroll. It’s what they do, all day, for a living.
For Your Example: suppose the firm specialises in acting for clients claiming injury from foreign bodies found in supermarket goods, and has done so over a twenty year period. It happens; presumably such cases might involve forensics = expert witnesses; I suspect there will be at least one such firm. As a supermarket, I’m not going to enable weekly fishing sweeps by lawyers through my stores - followed by once they find a sold-by mouldy jam, they immediately go find a pet client to sue on behalf of. And there’s no law that says I have to do so. If Public Health do so, that’s one thing, but enabling fishing sweeps for court cases against me is not something I have any duty to enable.
Patent trolls exist, personal injury trolls exist. On the former, e.g. I’m selling some “clever engineering software”, and I get a “Free Trial” enquiry from a company which on closer inspection turns out to be a legal firm, not an engineering firm, and a known patent troll. Am I going to give them the software for Free Trial? No. Of course not. I’m not an idiot. So I ignore the email. and two weeks later I get another Free Trial enquiry from someone who appears to be a private individual. But something flags in my memory, and the “private individual” turns out to have the same name as the Lead QC of said patent troll. Guess what happens to that email: Ignore & Delete.
This is absolutely no different.
A friend of mine is an environmental health officer. He was used to hearing certain service calls over the tannoy whenever he went into a local branch of a certain supermarket carrying his official hat and coat to do an inspection.
It was when he started getting met withing a minute of entering other branches - even ones outside his area - by a friendly helpful manager when he was not in work clothes he started to get suspicious that perhaps the systems used to spot known shoplifters were perhaps being put to other uses too. Maybe not entirely ethical by the supermarkets, but he found the personal service was a nice way to beat the checkout queue and for quickly finding everything on his shopping list.
As for is it legal, there are some huge loopholes under the heading of security / prevention of crime and protecting health & safety when it comes to using surveillance tech.
most of whom are scumbag lawyers.
And what job do those lawyers migrate to?
Politicians, the majority of whom are even worse scumbags and more corrupt that the criminals that those lawyers defend or prosecute.
Yes, I hate lawyers. The world would be a better place without 99.9999% of them.
I wouldn't have thought of it as a 'honeypot', but maybe the resulting payout will cause other companies to publish more pictures of employees?
It’s not as if the ban on these law firms was hidden in some email that nobody knew about. This was the hottest of hot gossip topics in all those law firms. They’d *already* gone to court to try and get the ban reversed. Partly because one of the senior partners didn’t like being banned from his New York Knicks season tickets that he’d had since 1976.
That lawsuit, including that firm of *just 29 lawyers* was filed weeks before any of this…..and turfed out. So a couple of weeks later, a non-partner in the same law firm tries to get in “with the Girl Guides”. It’s a setup.
It's a setup
Could be. And a quite successful one come to that. Madison Square Garden comes off looking really bad. And that's when their iffy technology actually worked as intended.
It's probably not a good idea to gratuitously annoy lawyers. Especially not here in the US where ravenous packs of the creatures roam the streets looking for prey. Probably not anywhere on Earth really.
>> I’m also not in any way interesting or popular.
I think you'll find this is a "Martin Niemoller"** type situation. I too am boring, ordinary and unimportant.. Nobody's interested in me so I don't need to worry. By the time someone (or, more likely these days, something) it will be a bit late.
(**See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came_... )
I'd also recommend a refresher course in "Brazil". Obviously it can't happen here...
The terms of the liquor licence are quite interesting though. It is possible that the clearly stated terms and conditions of the ticket sale might contradict the licence, which could get MSG into trouble.
It wouldn't be the first time a company has legally unenforceable T&Cs in a contract.
Companies frequently put scary sounding rubbish in their T&Cs to scare the little people (aka consumer). Fortunately, in the UK, we have a couple of things on our side: Firstly, it's impossible to sign away your legal rights; Second: A court can invalidate (parts of) a contract if they think it's unfair.
(This is in the context of company Vs consumer. Company Vs Company is a different ballgame)
Even in company-company contracts, courts will (indeed, have to) overturn terms and conditions that contradict law, though of course consumer-rights laws don't apply.
Sometimes such contracts get mixed up with employment laws; e.g. a contract that says "no poaching" can't actually stop an employee switching between the two companies, because to do so would breach the employee's right to get a job wheresoever they wish. That employee may well be bound by non-compete or confidentiality clauses in their old contract, but that's a different matter altogether.
No, MSG who by the sounds of the article own multiple businesses, wrote to the law firm, who likely employ dozens if not hundreds of lawyers, to say that they're going to blanket ban all of their staff from all of their locations.
It doesn't say they specifically told this lady in advance, or that they listed out all of their locations. They may have, but a company willing to be this petty is more likely to just send out a generic letter. Their goal is to inflict the maximum inconvenience on the staff of any lawfirm which dares sue them, so the more staff who get turned away the happier the asshole owners of MSG are.
"It doesn't say they specifically told this lady in advance, or that they listed out all of their locations."
Agreed. And I doubt her employer -- the firm in question against MSG -- bothered to forward said threat to all their employees, especially calling out that Radio City Music Hall (RCMH) was part of the ban in addition to "The Garden" itself (and potentially other locations -- I'm not a New Yohkeh who might know these things).
That does seem like a stretch. MSG are not distributing the image itself and the image can be obtained for free without any sort of explicit agreement being made. I'd also say that their use is transformative, in that data is being generated from the image that is distinct from any commercial value of the original image. Google's use of thumbnails in their image search was found to be transformative and, in my view, the values that are used for facial recognition are much more abstract.
I'd be careful expressing comments either way.
Even just reporting it is tricky, especially given that highlighting "the failure rate of facial recognition" in a case where it actually worked quite well seems a tad self-defeating... Piggy-backing NBC in giving prominence to the "mom" attribute also looks sketchy.
And this quote in the original article does sound suspicious:
"Taking a mother, separating a mother from her daughter and Girl Scouts she was watching over — and to do it under the pretext of protecting any disclosure of litigation information — is absolutely absurd. The fact they’re using facial recognition to do this is frightening. It’s un-American to do this."
Does sound a bit like they went fishing for public outcry to possibly get the jurors' on their side. Allegedly. Which does not mean they ain't right. Still...
Afaik, the only strong law against refusing service/entry is the Civil Liberties Act. Last time I checked lawyers were not a protected group.
The denial could still be unlawful if the reason behind it is deemed "arbitrary or capricious" or whatever other creative epithet a resourceful lawyer might come up with, which might well be the case, and sounds a bit more rational than upholding the sanctity of a liquor license.
Had one wished to be more informative about the status of the use facial recognition, you could have at least mentioned the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), still not in force in NY, which anyways regulates, rather than prohibits, the collection of biometric data.
Anyhow, very suspicious motives (to be clear, of the parties involved, not of the reporter), lots of IFs and BUTs and MAYBEs, very little to do with facial recognition, and too high of a tabloid-factor. I would not get emotional about it; I am afraid that if someone's going to win, it ain't going to be us either way. But then, hey, it's Christmas, there's always hope.
The alcohol licensing aspect is interesting, but probably not relevant. And even if that turns out to be true, it still doesn't make the practice illegal. I'm having difficulty finding the relevant legislation, but a violation of the terms for issuance of a license to serve alcohol is only grounds for revoking that license. Continuing to serve alcohol without a valid license would be illegal, and the venue would surely be hurt by the prospect of losing its license.
When someone says "how is that legal?" I can only answer "how is it not?". Unless there is a law forbidding something, doing that something is not against the law. There might be laws against blanket facial recognition use, but in the USA I have my doubts. As far as I can see right now, there is no law forbidding MSG from using facial recognition software at its events to look for a specific list of personae non gratae. Without seeing the terms of the liquor license relating to exclusion of members of the public, I couldn't make a judgement on that. I would suggest that it is at least arguable that specific persons who are known to the establishment are no longer members of the public.
None of this is to say that there should not be a law against this sort of behaviour. Perhaps there should. That's up to the legislature. And if it turns out there is a law that catches this behaviour within the jurisdiction, then it should be ceased.
I will note that the MSG is owned by James Dolan, who is an embarrassment even as American sports franchise owners go. One of the last times I heard of him, he had had a former star player for the Knicks removed from the venue in handcuffs: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Oakley#Madison_Square_Garden_arrest.
(Note to those Over There who may be inclined to snicker at the team's name: the 19th Century writer Washington Irving invented an author named Diedrich Knickerbocker, a historian of New York. The term "Knickerbocker" was thereafter applied to residents of Manhattan, though the term dropped out of use well before my time.)
Oh, I'm sure it's possible to hate your own lawyer too, especially when paying the bill. You can also hate *needing* a lawyer, because that often reflects on either circumstances outside your control or unintended consequences of your own actions (in turn, you might hate/regret what you done did).
Off-topic but analogous: I don't hate eating and sleeping; I hate *needing* to eat and sleep -- both are easily abused, with the former causing weight gain and the latter particularly ruining productivity. However, both can be pretty darned enjoyable, just not at the same time (I'm not a fictional lazy gluttonous orange tabby cat named Garfield).
I've dealt with this, albeit in a different state. That is a no-BS situation. The state won't hesitate to pull a liquor license for any violation of the rules.
Aw heck, I almost forgot.. Remember the bars that wanted to stay open despite the 'Covid rules'? Liquor license revocation was the leverage the state used to make them get in line. The state cannot pick & choose which rules they enforce. They made the threats back then, they have to do the same now.
Lawyers vs multi-billion dollar corp vs the state. Yeah, this will be sporting to watch them all try to eat each other.
I'd not want attorneys from a law firm that is suing me to have access to any of my venues, should I have any. There's less chance of those lawyers striking up conversations and "friendships" with my employees in the hopes they'll spill some information that can be used in a case. Those lawyers might want to be inside to observe and record how things are done at the property including how quickly a wet floor or other slip hazard is dealt with and how. As everybody, particularly attorneys, have cameras with them all of the time, making still, audio and video recordings is very easy to do. In fact, there could be plenty of people within a few meters all doing just that just about anywhere the public is allowed.
There is no separation between attorneys assigned to a case and other attorneys in a firm. If you've ever seen a billing statement from a law office, everybody down to the cleaning staff seem to have a line and hours listed. MSG has no idea who and to what extent any particular lawyer in the firm is privy to or taking a role of some sort in a case. All they may know is who has the lead and their assistant(s).