Sat. Feb 24th, 2024
From: Council Member Daniel Garodnick.

Too many New Yorkers find themselves vulnerable to a violation of their privacy — at the hands of a landlord, private actors, or even the government.  

I recently introduced a package of bills that will help to protect the privacy and security of New Yorkers.

Tenant “Relocation Specialists”.  As you might expect, an industry designed to “relocate” tenants is not frequently benign.  “Relocation specialists” are employed to give tenants an offer they can’t refuse — sometimes with money, but just as frequently with a fair amount of harassment and intimidation to get them out of their apartments.  These practices recently drew the attention of the New York State Attorney General, and my office continues to fight back against efforts to uproot tenants from their rent-stabilized apartments.  We will crack down on these practices in New York City by requiring that these specialists obtain a license and follow strict rules when offering a tenant a buyout offer.  

Apartment Inspections.  Few things are more frightening than when an uninvited guest opens the front door to your apartment.  And yet, that happens too easily due to rules that allow a landlord access to a unit for a non-emergency purpose — with very little notice, which sometimes never arrives.  I introduced a bill that increases the minimum notice period to tenants, and prescribes the form and manner in which notices is given.  There should be no surprises when it comes to the privacy of our homes.

Personal Data in Taxis.   You don’t expect to be tracked when you ride in a taxi in New York City.  And yet, a disturbing story about Uber recently revealed that the company was able to follow a reporter using their “God View” technology.  A bill I introduced protects consumers against this practice, and strengthens privacy standards for all licensed TLC bases and companies.  

Use of Drones.  It has gotten very easy to walk into an electronics store and buy a drone, for personal or commercial use.  Drone technology has far outpaced our local regulations — as illustrated by recent near-collisions with NYPD helicopters and even one unscheduled landing on the White House lawn —  and the proliferation of these devices present real privacy and safety concerns for New Yorkers.  I have introduced a bill that significantly regulates the use of drones in New York City, including by our own government.  Nobody wants their neighbors, or even local bureaucrats, spying on their activities.  While there are some very exciting and novel uses of drones, in a dense urban environment, we need to significantly limit the time and place of their operations.  

A Personal Note on Selma.  Finally, on a personal note, my wife Zoe and I had the honor of traveling to Selma, Alabama two weeks ago to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of “Bloody Sunday.”  It was powerful to visit the site of the original march and the sacrifices made to achieve equal voting rights, and was an important reminder of the need to fight to protect those rights today.   I shared some of my impressions of the visit in Gotham Gazette.

As always, I look forward to your feedback.




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