Atlantic Plaza Towers facial recognition

Occurred: November 2019

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Over 300 residents of Atlantic Plaza Towers in Brooklyn, New York, have successfully fought off a proposal by their landlord to install a facial recognition system behind their backs.

The StoneLock facial recognition system was to be used so that recognised tenants could open the front door to their buildings rather than using traditional keys or electronic key fobs

However, residents felt it was an 'extreme' intrusion on their privacy, and that they did not want their movements to be tracked. They were also concerned that the landlord wanted to attract higher-income, white tenants to the majority-black public building. 

In July 2018, the landlord Nelson Management Group had sought state approval to install the system under a state rule which says that landlords of rent-regulated apartments built before 1974 must seek permission from the state’s Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) agency for any 'modification in service.'

Brooklyn Legal Services worked with tenants to issue (pdf) a letter of protest that noted that most tenants at Atlantic Plaza Towers were black and that studies had shown that facial recognition disproportionately impacts people of colour. 

Nelson announced it was withdrawing the plan in November 2019.

Operator: Nelson Management Group
Developer: StoneLock

Country: USA

Sector: Govt - housing

Purpose: Verify tenant identity

Technology: Facial recognition
Issue: Privacy; Surveillance

Transparency: Governance; Marketing; Privacy


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