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Madison Square Garden sues New York after agency investigates its use of facial recognition

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Madison Square Garden (MSG) Entertainment, the company that manages the Beacon Theater and Radio City Music Hall, has filed a lawsuit against New York’s State Liquor Authority (SLA) after the agency threatened to revoke the company’s liquor license because the company uses facial recognition to prevent individuals it deems to be corporate enemies from accessing its venues.

For example, in December, security prevented a woman, who works for a law firm involved in litigation against MSG Entertainment, from accompanying her daughter’s Girl Scout group to a Rockettes show after she was flagged by the venue’s facial recognition software.

We obtained a copy of the complaint for you here.

SLA argued that the Alcohol Beverage Law requires liquor license holders to allow the public to access their premises.

MSG Entertainment CEO James Dolan said the lawsuit was filed to prevent the SLA from revoking Madison Square’s liquor license.

“This gangster-like governmental organization has finally run up against an entity that won’t cower in the face of their outrageous abuses,” he said in a statement.

Related: Stadiums are about to become a privacy nightmare

The lawsuit accuses the SLA of a “long history of corruption,” with 10 pages of the 47-page lawsuit detailing the corruption including the tens of thousands in bribes that the former SLA chairman received from the Playboy Club in the 60s.

The complaint further argues: “This is the antithesis of how government is supposed to make decisions. It is conduct so unconscionable that it cries out for this Court’s intervention to put an immediate end to the SLA’s abuse of power.”

In an interview in January, Dolan threatened to share flyers containing SLA chairman Sharif Kabir’s contact information at Madison Square if the liquor license was revoked.

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