New budget forbids MTA from using facial recognition to bust fare evaders

The Metropolitan Transit Authority has been barred from using facial recognition software program to bust fare evaders, in accordance to a brand new measure quietly handed in Albany.

The prohibition was slipped unnoticed into the state’s $237 billion budget, which handed final month.

The new regulation states the MTA should “not use, or arrange for the use, of biometric identifying technology, including but not limited to facial recognition technology, to enforce rules relating to the payment of fares.”

A general view of a person jumping a subway turnstile in New York, NY on July 15, 2023.
Critics argue facial recognition know-how “could invade upon people’s lives.” Christopher Sadowski

Like many tweaks, the measure was shoehorned into the budget with out public debate or remark.

State Assemblymember Zohran Mamdani of Queens instructed told Gothamist that facial recognition know-how was a priority as a result of it “could invade upon people’s lives through expanded surveillance and through the criminalization of just existing within the public sphere.”

The Democratic Socialist later insisted to The Post he wasn’t concerned with the measure to ban the tech.

The chronically cash-strapped company misplaced $700 million to fare theft in 2023, in accordance to the Citizens Budget Commission.

Two day after the mass shooting inside the 36th street subway line in Sunset Park Brooklyn, heavy police presence,
The NYPD doesn’t use facial recognition to help to find fare evaders. Paul Martinka
Zohran Kwame Mamdani
Mamdani mentioned the MTA using facial recognition know-how can be regarding. Zohran Kwame Mamdani/fb

The New York Police Department additionally doesn’t use facial recognition to help to find fare evaders, an police spokesman mentioned.

Albany Republicans expressed outrage on the new rule.

“As New York continuously becomes an unsafe and an unfordable place to live, our state government continues to tie the hands of our law enforcement and not hold people accountable for their actions,” mentioned Brooklyn GOP Assemblyman Michael Tannousis. “The MTA loses $700 million a year in fare evasion and instead of giving the right tools to retain these funds, they are relying on congestion pricing to raise $1 billion from our hardworking middle class.”

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