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How controversial gun detection technology came to New York

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How controversial gun detection technology came to New York

There was a lot of overlap with former members of the NYPD. Adams and banks they emerged together as police officers, as did a then-Evolv account executive, whose name Chitkara also mentioned in the email to the mayor’s staff. Dominick D’Orazio, who had been Evolv’s northeastern U.S. sales manager before being promoted to regional manager in April, was a commander in Brooklyn South whose reporting line included Banks, who at the time was deputy chief of Brooklyn Borough Patrol. South. (Banks has denied meeting D’Orazio in his capacity as an Evolv employee.)

Evolv’s connection to the NYPD is something George, Evolv’s CEO, has used to market the company’s technology. “About a third of our sellers were former police officers,” said George saying at a conference in June 2022. “The one here in New York was an NYPD cop and he is a very good salesman because he understands who we are selling to. He has the secret handshake.”

David Cohen, former deputy commissioner of intelligence at the New York Police Department, also he sits on the Evolv Security Advisory Board.

The Mayor’s Office wanted to emphasize that it is not decided that Evolv will be a permanent installation. “To be clear, we have NOT said that we are going to put Evolv technology in subway stations,” Kayla Mamelak, deputy press secretary for the Mayor’s Office, tells WIRED in an email. “We said we opened a 90-day period to explore the use of technology, like Evolv, in our subway stations.”

Civil rights and technology experts have argued that using Evolv’s scanners in subway stations is likely futile. “This is Mickey Mouse public safety,” says Albert Fox Cahn, founder of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, a privacy advocacy organization. “This is not a serious solution for the nation’s largest transit system.”

Furthermore, implementing the company’s technology could not only be ineffective: it is also likely to add more police officers to the daily rhythms of New Yorkers’ lives, intensifying Adams’ concerns. pro police agenda. New York subway has 472 stations. “There are approximately 1,000 subway station entrances,” explains Sarah Kaufman, director of the Rudin Center for Transportation at New York University. “That means Evolv would have to be in every entry to be effective and that would, of course, require monitoring.”

According to the draft policy released by the NYPD, the process surrounding gun detection technology on the subway is extremely vague and still relies heavily on police officers. “The checkpoint supervisor will determine the frequency of passengers subject to inspection (for example, every fifth passenger or every tenth passenger),” the document reads. It will also be based on “available police personnel available to conduct inspections.”

The New York subway has an estimated 3.6 million daily riders. Stopping every tenth passenger would mean 360,000 searches a day.

“This will mean that people will have to routinely go through invasive and inconvenient searches,” Cahn says. “What’s really emblematic here is that the city continues to try to adopt security measures that are very visible, even when they are very ineffective.”

school supplies

In the email thread sent to New York City officials attending the meeting, Chitkara touted Evolv’s successful rollout in schools. But there, too, the scanners have not been able to detect weapons and firearms on multiple occasions. While the Adams administration was persuaded to test the technology, internal emails obtained from a large school district that uses Evolv’s technology illustrate how the scanners confused everyday objects.

“I know the simple solution is to tell kids not to use binders but regular notebooks,” Jacqueline Barone, principal at Piedmont Middle School, part of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina, wrote in late 2022. “But it hurts my soul to have to tell children or teachers that certain supplies cannot be used because the scanners mistake them for weapons.”

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