Posted on July 10, 2018
New York City Wants to Track Street Vendors With GPS Units
“Let’s say the federal government subpoenas this information from the city’s health department," Matthew Shapiro of @VendorPower told Documented about the GPS data. "They’re going to be turning over location data for huge numbers of people.” https://t.co/1dqYRWTMGp
— Documented (@Documentedny) July 9, 2018
At a hearing on Monday morning in Long Island City, three senior staff members of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene listened to testimonies given about the proposed rule to keep tabs on the city’s mobile food vendors — an estimated 85 percent of which are immigrants — with GPS devices. The proposed tracking is a component of a bill passed last year by the City Council, yet to be implemented, which will require all mobile food vendors to post letter health inspection grades similar to the city’s restaurants. The DHMH believes the tracking devices will help inspectors locate the trucks and carts for inspections.
But vendors and advocates such as Matthew Shapiro, the legal director of the Street Vendor’s Project, a non-profit that advocates on behalf of street vendors in New York City, are concerned with the mass data–collection effort and who would have access to the information.
“Does that mean if someone shows up with a subpoena saying, ‘Tell me where vendor X is,’ that they have to do that?” asked Robert Frommer [a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice (IJ)]. “It’s very vague,” he said of the proposed rule, “and vague laws invite discrimination. They invite government overreach.”