Atlantic Plaza Towers tenants won a halt to facial recognition in their building: Now they’re calling on a moratorium on all residential use

Atlantic Plaza Towers Tenants Association

A guest post by Tranae’ Moran

Facial recognition technology is being forced on tenants in New York City, most of whom have no clue about its negative implications. I (Tranae’ Moran), Fabian Rogers, and fellow members of Atlantic Plaza Towers Tenants Association live in an already over-surveilled building complex and we are outraged. We are real people with real concerns seeking real answers. In our search, we’ve been met with bulging eyes and open mouths when we share our story with industry professionals. Having data scientists and analysts break down the language of behaviors and errors in this technology has been helpful to us; we see it being just as useful to government officials and the city’s citizens alike as they take their first steps toward educating themselves about AI, and facial recognition in particular.

Experts in the field have provided us with resources that, time and time again, reiterate that facial recognition technology is not ready to be deployed, especially in residential contexts. It is imperative that AI professionals focus on addressing bias in the development of software and share new developments with community leaders and organizations that have a direct connection to officials and citizens — we are tired of reacting and are ready and willing to be proactive. We are fighting not only for a smarter and more just approach to facial recognition; we’re also fighting for our privacy, for our right to exist and to act of our own accord as human beings, without eyes and/or algorithms watching our every move.

We would like to see a moratorium put in place to freeze all activity involving facial recognition and/or biometric-collecting technology in residential spaces. Such a moratorium would allow us to be productive in thinking about future legislation and to adjust bills already proposed that revolve around protecting the city’s inhabitants from an immature and unregulated technology. We’ve gotten far in this fight, but this is just the beginning of establishing a new precedent for our relationship with artificial intelligence.

Tranae’ Moran & Fabian Rogers | Atlantic Plaza Towers Tenants Association

Atlantic Plaza Towers Tenants Association has come together to speak out against proposals for facial recognition systems in residential spaces throughout the city. Facial recognition technology is an unnecessary evil being forced on marginalized communities of color in gentrifying areas that are already being over surveilled. We are dedicated to filling a gap in the flow of information from tech and political communities into our own, we are tired of reacting and are ready and willing to be proactive in the building up of our community. We are contesting not only facial recognition, but our right to privacy as well; the same privacy that those who are proposing these bills have, the right to dwell in our homes without eyes and/or algorithms watching our every move and exposing our families to unnecessary cyber-attacks.

Photo Credit Jessica Garcia

Tranae’ Moran is a resin artist, administrative consultant and merchandising professional. She’s a graduate of Brooklyn College with a Bachelors in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. An advocate for those in her community through service initiatives such as Art Grief Therapy and using her voice and skillsets as a member of the Atlantic Plaza Towers Tenants Association. She has been on the frontlines organizing and educating with her neighbors, speaking out against the use of Facial Recognition technology in the two 24-story apartment buildings in Ocean Hill, Brownsville and has made positive strides in pushing back against building management while creating awareness around the realities of facial recognition and the collection of biometric data in residential spaces.

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Researching the social implications of artificial intelligence now to ensure a more equitable future