Alarmed by their landlord’s attempt to install a biometric security system in their development, Atlantic Plaza Towers tenants are pushing a state agency to register privacy concerns raised by the facial-recognition technology.
The Atlantic Plaza Towers Tenant Association is urging Homes and Community Renewal, the state agency overseeing rent-regulated housing, to provide it with more time to oppose an application for a biometric security system submitted by its landlord, Nelson Management Group. The tool would scan faces and admit those who match resident profiles — a prospect that has tenants worried about the accuracy of technology and about their location being tracked and shared. HCR acknowledged Nelson Management Group had submitted the first considered application to modify service in a rent-regulated building for facial recognition equipment, but would not indicate when it would issue a decision.
"He owns 12 developments. Why did he target a development that is predominantly Afro-Americans in East New York to test — and predominantly women that live in the development — to test," said Icemae Downes, noting her landlord owns several other developments. "Why is he preying on our community?"
The StoneLock facial recognition takes under a minute to enroll in and uses near-infrared wavelengths to capture properties like shape and reflectivity beneath the skin, according to a flyer shared by a spokesman for Nelson Management Group. About 5 percent of users’ facial information is mapped out in a way that cannot be imitated or recognized by the human eye. The data are then encrypted and stored on a StoneLock Gateway server that would never leave the control of Nelson Management Group, according to the flyer.