February, 2017

New York City Plans to Test Facial-Recognition Technology at Entry-Points


            In December 2016, the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority of New York City sought data for implementation of facial-recognition technology at two tunnels and seven bridges for use in a “free-flow highway environment, where vehicle movement is unimpeded at highway speeds as well as bumper-to-bumper traffic, and license plate images are taken and matched to occupants of the vehicles (via license plate number) with Facial Detection and Recognition methods from a gantry-based or road-side monitoring location.”


Sources:  Kevin Collier, “Memo: New York Called For Face Recognition Cameras At Bridges, Tunnels,” vocative.com, January 27, 2017: http://www. vocativ.com/396745/memo-new-york-called-for-face-recognition-cameras-at-bridges-tunnels/.  Related: Brett Williams, “New York City could up its surveillance efforts with facial recognition tech,” mashable.com, January 27, 2017: http:// mashable.com/2017/01/27/new-york-city-facial-reco gnition/#qQCj.mfywOqk; Angela Matua, “Governor unveils plan to eliminate toll booths on all MTA tunnels and bridges,” qns.com, October 6, 2016:  http://qns.com/story/2016/10/06/governor-unveils -plan-eliminate-toll-booths-mta-tunnels-bridges/


Stingray Cell-Site Simulator Updates

            The Stingray manual is available on the Internet, and can be accessed through the link below:  https://theintercept.com/2016/09/12/long-secret-stingray-manuals-detail-how-police-can-spy-on-phones/


            Bi-partisan legislation has been introduced that would require law enforcement agencies to obtain a search warrant prior to using the Stingray-type technology.  The legislation, called the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance (GPS) Act, was introduced on February 15, 2017, by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore and Reps. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah and Jon Conyers, D-Mich.   Rep. Chaffetz was quoted in a recent article as saying, “Congress has an obligation to act quickly to protect Americans from violations of their privacy made possible by emerging technologies … As we welcome innovative technologies that help fight crime, we must be mindful of the potential for abuse.”


Source:  Erin Kelly, “Bipartisan bill seeks warrants for police use of ‘stingray’ cell trackers,” usatoday.com, February 15, 2017: http://www. usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2017/02/15/bipartisan-bill-seeks-warrants-police-use-stingray-cell-trackers/97954214/


by Neil Leithauser

Associate Editor