Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. Unlawful Use of Biometric Data

If you have visited Madison Square Garden or Radio City Music Hall in NYC, facial recognition technology may have been unlawfully used. New York City law requires commercial establishments to notify consumers when such biometric information is being collected, and furthermore prohibits the sale, trade, or exchange of such information for profit.

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Madison Square Garden Entertainment in New York federal court, alleging that Madison Square Garden Entertainment is unlawfully collecting and sharing biometric data to benefit its bottom line. Madison Square Garden is doing this to systematically identify and remove any attorney from its venues who may be associated with a law firm that dares to file a lawsuit against Madison Square Garden. The objective of this policy is clear — to deter litigation and, in turn, reduce their litigation expense. In doing so, however, Madison Square Garden improperly shares its collected biometric data with at least one third-party company for profit, and as a result, violates the protected and valuable privacy rights of all consumers with respect to their personal biometric identifier information, not just the attorneys and litigants they wish to ban.

For example, Madison Square Garden recently used facial recognition to remove a mother chaperoning her daughter on a Girl Scouts trip to the Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall merely because the mother was employed by a law firm that brought a lawsuit against Madison Square Garden (notwithstanding that the woman had no role in the lawsuit). And that is just one example of their clear intent to publicly humiliate and intimate people.

In 2021, New York City joined the growing number of states and municipalities that have enacted laws to prevent commercial establishments from secretly collecting and profiting from consumer biometric identifiers, as it is doing here. Further, the plaintiffs in this case did not provide consent for Madison Square Garden to sell, lease, trade, or share in the profit from the transaction of the biometric identifier information. The NYC Biometrics Law was enacted to address the unique consumer protection concerns related to privacy and personal data that have arisen from developments in facial recognition and other biometric technology and, in particular, the concern that private databases of this information “may be sold, shared, or used in ways that the consumer does not understand or consent to.”

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A class action lawsuit is a way for a group of people who have suffered similar harms to bring a single collective case and share in any potential award. You become part of a group, with far more potential power than filing a lawsuit on your own—and at no cost to you.

Filing a class action lawsuit allows us to consolidate evidence, witnesses, and litigation expenses to make the lawsuit more efficient and effective. The collective “clout” of the class is typically far more effective than an action by any individual plaintiff.

No! The attorneys work on contingency, and only get paid if the case is successful. Any fees they may be awarded are determined by the court and paid by the defendant.

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