NEW YORK - One week after the horrific Brooklyn subway attack, Mayor Eric Adams is suggesting that he is heavily leaning toward implementing some type of new technology in the subway system and that it's more a matter of when — not if. But what that technology might look like is very much unclear.
He put Deputy Mayor of Public Safety Philip Banks in charge of scoping out companies and new metal detection technology. And when a decision would be made is really anyone's guess. On Monday, Adams said they were "close," but on Tuesday he said they were still in the "exploration" phase. A City Hall spokesperson also told FOX 5 NY that they are still in the "early" stages of the process.
The city is reportedly looking at several companies, and, according to a spokesman, one of those is Massachusetts-based Evolv Technology.
Representatives with Evolv declined an interview but they did provide us with some information and a handout video of the "Express" devices uses in Georgia — inside the entrance to the Georgia Aquarium and outside the entrances to Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
In the video, you can see people passing through without having to wait in any line; this is 10 times faster than a traditional metal detector, according to the company. Evolv claims that if no one is carrying anything suspicious — for example, a pressure cooker or a firearm or a part of a firearm — then it won't go off.
If the device does detect something, a red light appears and a sound plays, according to the training video as explained by Evolv's Jeff Cahill.
"That indicates to the operator that they should look at the tablet," Cahill said, indicating video and the area of the person under question.
The technology would require an operator monitoring that tablet, then presumably someone would have to approach the person in question before they could get to a train.
The company claims the device does not flag everyday metallic objects.
But there are many concerns raised by civil liberties advocates. For example, the mayor's office wouldn't tell us if facial recognition technology is a component they're trying to include or not. That type of artificial intelligence has come under widespread criticism from privacy advocates. There are also concerns surrounding wrongful identification.
"If you're a Black person, a Black teenager riding the subways, the likelihood that a wrongful identification would kill you is much greater than if you're a white person," New York Civil Liberties Union's Donna Lieberman said. "And I think we have to worry about these problems because they're not trivial."
A spokesperson for the mayor's office would not say how staffing would work for the technology or how much money this all might cost.