Google Glass At The Movies: Federal Agents Interrogate Man Wearing Glass In Theater

 @ryanWneal
on January 21 2014 12:28 PM
RO_Prescription_Lenses_Glass
Rochester Optical's Google Glasses Courtesy of Rochester Optical

An Ohio man claimed that Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) Glass led to federal agents interrogating him and his wife over the weekend.

According to an account on The Gadgeteer, the man (referred to as a “longtime Gadgeteer reader”) wore Google Glass to an AMC theater in Columbus, Ohio, to see the new “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” movie. He said that he kept Google Glass on because they were fitted with his prescription lenses, which were introduced to the smart glasses at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and that he had no intention of recording the movie.

The man also said that this was the third time he had worn the glasses to that theater, and the first two occasions were uneventful, other than talking about Google Glass with employees.

This time, he faced a federal agent.

“About an hour into the movie… a guy comes near my seat, shoves a badge that had some sort of a shield on it, yanks the Google Glass off my face and says ‘follow me outside immediately,'” the man said, who said the agent accused him of illegally taping the movie. The man said he was searched and had his Google Glass, two cell phones and his wallet confiscated.

Apparently the agents thought he was connected with some sort of movie piracy ring, as they demanded the Gadgeteer reader to “give up the guy up the chain.”

They wanted to know where I got Glass and how did I came by having it. I told them I applied about 1000 times to get in the explorer program, and eventually I was selected, and I got the Glass from Google. I offered to show them receipt and Google Glass website if they would allow me to access any computer with internet. Of course, that was not an option. Then they wanted to know what does Google ask of me in exchange for Glass, how much is Google paying me, who is my boss and why am I recording the movie.

Eventually the agents connected the Google Glass to a computer and found no evidence of a recorded movie, and the man was free to go. He was given four free passes to the movie theater as compensation, though they didn’t seem to do much to satisfy him.

Without identifying the reader in question or the theater, it’s difficult to verify the story. If it is to be believed, there seem to be two lessons to be learned.

The first is how woefully behind the times the police and government authorities are. Like the ticket given for wearing Glass while driving that was eventually dropped, authorities need to better understand these devices and their capabilities. They should know, for example, about the extremely limited battery life of Google Glass and how hot it gets during recording, making it extremely difficult and impractical to use for recording a feature-length film.

On the flip side, tech advocates should be aware of the privacy and piracy concerns surrounding new devices like Google Glass. After all, Google Glass has already been banned in many movie theaters, as well as strip clubs and casinos. And wearing the device into three different movies, three weeks in a row, is bound to raise some suspicion.

Don’t be a Glasshole. Just put the toy away for a couple of hours and use your regular glasses. 

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