Google Glass Banned By 5 Point Cafe
March 11, 2013

Dive Bar Preemptively Bans Google Glass

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

Google´s Glass glasses won´t be available until the end of the year, but they´re already garnering a lot of attention in the press. One key feature of Glass is its ability to take pictures and video with a voice command or a few taps of the earpiece. Now, one self-proclaimed “dive bar” in Seattle has preemptively banned Google Glass, making them the first establishment to do so. The 5 Point bar does make use of surveillance cameras inside the bar, but claims Glass could lead to some invasions of privacy.

“For the record, The 5 Point is the first Seattle business to ban in advance Google Glasses. And ass kickings will be encouraged for violators,” reads a Facebook post on The 5 Point Facebook page.

“First you have to understand the culture of the 5 Point, which is a sometimes seedy, maybe notorious place,” explained Dave Meinert, the owner of The 5 Point during an interview with KIRO-FM in Seattle this morning.

“People want to go there and be not known “¦ and definitely don´t want to be secretly filmed or videotaped and immediately put on the Internet.”

Meinert does claim he is only half serious in this decision, saying he also wanted to get a reaction out of people on Facebook.

“But part of it´s serious, because we don´t let people film other people or take photos unwanted of people in the bar, because it is kind of a private place that people go.”

Joshua Topolsky of the Verge hinted at the creep factor of the Google Glass glasses during an exclusive hands-on of the spectacles last month. Topolsky tells a story about the Verge´s camera team following him to a nearby Starbucks as they captured video for the review. Starbucks has a no camera policy and asked the camera team to stop filming as they entered the store. Because Glass looks like glasses, the employees hadn´t assumed Topolsky was also filming, and he continued to film throughout the entire visit.

“Yes, you can see a light in the prism when the device is recording, but I got the impression that most people had no idea what they were looking at,” said Topolsky.

“The cashier seemed to be on the verge of asking me what I was wearing on my face, but the question never came. He certainly never asked me to stop filming.”

GeekWire took their own cameras just outside The 5 Point to ask members of the public what they thought of the attention-grabbing ban. Two individuals touched on very important points to consider in this conversation. First, surveillance cameras are protected by law and are used in the name of public safety. Save an attack by which a hacker lifts this video from the cameras, it will likely never end up on the Internet.

Secondly, and as noted by Topolsky, Glass makes it incredibly easy to capture video. One of Glass´ big features is its voice navigation, but the device can be controlled via a small touchpad on the side of the earpiece. This means a wearer could very inconspicuously begin recording a video of anything they see, sending it instantly to the Internet once it´s done. The red light on the prism could give this person away, but the red light is also much smaller than a video camera or even a smartphone.

At this point, it seems Google Glass could become the best friend of the so-called “Creepy Cameraman,” an unknown man who video tapes passersby in Seattle and challenges the public´s idea of privacy and surveillance.