In January 2023, New York Attorney General Letitia James sent a letter to Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corporation (MSG), seeking information about its use of facial recognitional technology to prohibit ticketholders from entering its venues, such as Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall. New York’s biometric identifier law requires companies using facial recognition technology to disclose the use to consumers. Madison Square Garden started using this technology in 2018 to identify security threats — a practice under prior scrutiny.
The inquiry followed reports that MSG used facial recognition software to identify “lawyers in all law firms representing clients engaged in any litigation against MSG” and deny them entry to MSG’s venues before they even presented their ticket(s). According to the AG’s letter, MSG’s policy impacted approximately 90 law firms.
The AG’s letter also questioned the reliability of MSG’s use of facial recognition technology and its potential discrimination. Additionally, AG James asked MSG to justify its policy and demonstrate how it can ensure compliance with all applicable laws, such as federal, state, and local human rights laws prohibiting discrimination and retaliation. Previously, MSG attempted to justify the practice by arguing that attorneys may gather evidence to support their lawsuits while inside an MSG venue. AG James warned that the policy “may dissuade lawyers from taking on legitimate cases against the company … in order to avoid the alleged ban.”
Why It Matters
AG James’s inquiry is the latest legal matter facing MSG, as several attorneys denied entry sued MSG for allegedly violating their civil rights. With biometric privacy at the forefront of regulatory scrutiny, particularly if misused or stolen, lawmakers and regulators nationwide will continue to develop policies, draft legislation, and enact regulations to protect consumer biometric data. As such, AG James’ inquiry foretells increased regulatory attention on companies deploying facial recognition technology, so they must revisit their privacy policies and reassess the legal landscape to ensure compliance with biometric laws.
Troutman Pepper State Attorneys General Team
|Ashley Taylor – Co-leader and Firm Vice Chair
Ashley is a partner in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group and co-leader of the State Attorneys General practice. He focuses primarily on federal and state government regulatory and enforcement matters involving state attorneys general, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Drawing upon his experience as a deputy attorney general, Ashley has developed an extensive consumer practice with regard to the consumer financial services industry.
|Clay Friedman – Co-leader
Clay is a partner in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group and co-leader of the State Attorneys General practice. Informed by nearly a decade in a state attorneys general office, and more than 25 years in private practice, Clay spends much of his time representing clients in singular or multistate regulatory actions. Clay has repeatedly led teams before all 50 state attorneys general and also handles matters with the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and other local, state and federal agencies.
Stephen represents clients interacting with, and being investigated by, state attorneys general and other enforcement bodies, including the CFPB and FTC, as well as clients involved with litigation, particularly in heavily regulated industries.
Michael handles high-profile state attorneys general, FTC, and CFPB investigations by advising clients through these complex government inquiries. He assists clients through the entire life cycle of investigations, from regulatory enforcement through formal litigation.
As a former government official at the state and federal level, Ketan leverages extensive experience in the public and private sectors to skillfully represent client interests.
A former deputy attorney general of New York, Avi applies his experience in bet-the-company matters, representing clients in criminal and civil investigations and enforcement actions before state and federal regulators, prosecutors and enforcement agencies.
Chris represents clients in regulatory, civil and criminal investigations and litigation. In his practice, Chris regularly employs his prior regulatory experience to benefit clients who are interacting with and being investigated by state attorneys general.
Natalia is an associate in the firm’s business litigation practice. She recently received her J.D from the University of California, Davis School of Law.
Namrata is an associate in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group, based in the Washington, D.C. office. Her work includes advising clients in regulatory investigations and compliance matters, in addition to representing clients in civil litigation matters.
Susan is an associate in the firm’s Consumer Financial Services Practice Group, and focuses her practice on consumer financial services matters. She has defended several of the nation’s largest and most influential financial institutions in individual and class action litigation involving the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and other consumer privacy statutes. Susan also represents banks, fintechs, and financial services companies in connection with regulatory examinations and investigations brought by the CFPB, state attorneys general, and the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.
Whitney is an attorney in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group. She represents clients facing state and federal regulatory investigations and enforcement actions, as well as related civil litigation.
Trey is an associate in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement practice. His experience includes serving as a summer associate at the firm in 2021.
An experienced litigator, Daniel advises and represents regional, national and international companies, financial institutions and insurers in all facets of business, complex commercial and insurance coverage litigation. He is committed to working with his clients to find creative solutions to meet their needs.
Stephanie is Troutman Pepper’s senior government relations manager in the state attorneys general department.