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Federal agent yanks man out of cinema for wearing Google Glass

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An Ohio man who took his wife to see Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit last weekend had a nasty surprise when a federal agent dragged him out of the movie and subjected him to a lengthy interrogation — all over his choice of eyewear.

As the Gadgeteer explained, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security arrested the man for allegedly using Google(s goog) Glass to record the movie. Thanks to Hollywood-backed anti-camming laws, such recordings are a serious federal crime but it appears the man, who has not been named, is off the hook.

As it turns out, the Google Glass part of the eyewear was not operational, and the man was instead using them as regular prescription eyewear to watch the movie. As an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, who confirmed the arrest, explained:

The man, who voluntarily answered questions, confirmed to authorities that the suspected recording device was also a pair of prescription eye glasses in which the recording function had been inactive.

This isn’t the first time Google Glass wearers have had a brush with the law: just last week, a Glass-wearing San Diego woman beat a traffic ticket that accused her of watching an illegal monitor while driving. Her defense was also that the eyewear was not turned on.

The Ohio incident shows how the movie industry is already watching Google Glass with trepidation; their fears appear to be based on the fact that it might be easier to record a film with glasses on your face than a camera in your hand.

More broadly, Google Glass is likely to start bumping up against all sorts of other laws related to privacy, safety and intellectual property. Lawmakers may wish to react accordingly.

12 Responses to “Federal agent yanks man out of cinema for wearing Google Glass”

  1. How was it that DHS knew to go nab the guy in the first place? Did someone at the theater notice the Google glasses and place a phone call? Or was Big Brother really watching that closely? Scary!

    And to echo another comment, the movie theater experience is so god-awful, I quit going out to see a movie years ago.

  2. elaine x

    So, maybe all those conspiracy theories are right … you know the Batman/SandyHook/Boston Marathon … wtf is #DHS and not the #FBI the “strong arm of the movie industry?” Maybe they are co-writing the script of the industrial military complex together after all? sick thought. But, hey, find me a logical connection to movie piracy and some #DHS police showing up at a random movie theater in Ohio!!!!!!!!!!!!! smh. the #policestate is a construct we can do without.

  3. WalleyedWillie

    A person using a head-mounted camera or Google Glass would have to sit absolutely still for 90-120 minutes in order to produce a viewable video. Imagining that someone is actually doing so and producing a video that would be viewable alternative is really stupid. However, that seems to be the level of common sense applied both by the MPAA and law enforcement of all kinds these days.

  4. Samuel Clemens

    Our Federal laws are so distorted. While overly rhetorical, it feels a bit like son of Fugitive Slave Act – the legal system is the wrong side. What is Immigration doing arresting people in a theater, period? Wrong all the way through. Also scary, is the NSA going to hack every Google Glass to send the feds to raid neighborhood theaters and porn houses. Not that I would know anything about the latter…

  5. Hollywood issue isn’t Google Glass or anything like it. Their challenge is actually delivering movies worth the $11 admission price.

    I was an avid moviegoer but my interest has waned with the poor quality of recent Hollywood fare.