January 22, 2014
Feds Interrogate Moviegoer For Wearing Google Glass
[ Watch the Video: Google Glass Gets Man In Hot Water At The Theater ]
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
An Ohio man who went to see a movie with his wife at an AMC Theater in Columbus last Saturday was interrogated for hours by federal agents because he was wearing Google Glass during the film.
According to multiple media reports, authorities apparently believed the 35-year old man might be illegally taping the 7:45 pm showing of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.
The stunned moviegoer, who says he has been using Google Glass for about two months, and had recently added prescription lenses to them, described the incident in detail in a statement to The Gadgeteer.
“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.
“Outside of the theater there were about 5-10 cops and mall cops,” he said, describing the scene outside the AMC Theater at the Easton Town Center in Columbus.
“I was surprised by this and as I was obviously just having a nice Saturday evening night out with my wife and not taping anything whether legally or illegally, I tried to explain that this is a misunderstanding.”
“I kept telling them that Glass has a USB port and not only did I allow them, I actually insist they connect to it and see that there was nothing but personal photos with my wife and my dog on it. I also insisted they look at my phone too and clear things out, but they wanted to talk first.”
After questioning him for hours, agents eventually downloaded and sifted through the moviegoer’s files “one by one,” and cleared him a few minutes later.
Khaalid Walls, a spokesman for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), confirmed in an email to The Columbus Dispatch that special agents with the agency’s Homeland Security Investigations and local authorities “briefly interviewed a man suspected of using an electronic recording device to record a film.”
ICE Homeland Security Investigations is the organization responsible, in part, for combating piracy and counterfeit items.
AMC spokesman Ryan Noonan told The Dispatch that the Motion Picture Association (MPAA) was at the Easton theater last weekend when the Glass wearer was noticed, and that the MPAA representative had asked Homeland Security to investigate whether the man was illegally recording the film.
“While we’re huge fans of technology and innovation, wearing a device that has the capability to record video is not appropriate at the movie theater,” Noonan said.
The Glass wearer, who asked to remain anonymous, said he and his wife regularly go to movies at the Easton Town Center AMC. He said he had previously been to the theater multiple times while wearing Glass, and wishes someone had simply asked him to remove the device before entering.
The Columbus incident is not the first time a Glass wearer has had a brush with authorities. Last October, a woman was ticketed in San Diego, CA, for wearing Glass while driving, although a court dismissed the citation last Thursday, saying it was impossible to prove the woman was wearing the device while she was driving.