Alan Smithee

Google Glass Wearing Movie-goer Detained by Department of Homeland Security

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Google Glass

A member of the Google Glass Explorer program ran into a bit of a conundrum at an AMC theater in Columbus, Ohio recently as he was pulled out of the movie after about an hour and harangued by federal agents who believed him to be recording the movie on his device to later pirate online.

What followed was over an hour of the “feds” telling me I am not under arrest, and that this is a “voluntary interview”, but if I choose not to cooperate bad things may happen to me (is it legal for authorities to threaten people like that?). […] They wanted to know who I am, where I live, where I work, how much I’m making, how many computers I have at home, why am I recording the movie, who am I going to give the recording to, why don’t I just give up the guy up the chain, ’cause they are not interested in me. Over and over and over again.

Ultimately they let him go after checking his device’s contents which I believe is a violation of his Constitutional rights. The movie theater gave him free passes to the movie he was watching so he could see the film again, but he was quite disturbed by what had transpired considering he had worn Glass to the movie theater before.

The story seemed a bit unlikely but it was later discovered via The Verge that all accounts were true. The patron was indeed pulled out of the movie and was questioned by members of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement branch of the Department of Homeland Security about his potential piracy.

The wearable tech was also functioning as the man’s glasses as the device was secured onto his prescription lenses and was confused as to why NOW there was an issue as to why he got pulled out as he had talked with employees of the theater previously about the device. He also said that when he was approached in the movie, that the device was snatched off his face roughly and he was escorted out to a welcoming group of about five to ten cops and security agents.

The device is capable of recording 720p HD video but has only 12GB of usable memory meaning that at a decent amount of compression using MPEG2 High, it would be clocking in at 15GB for just ONE hour of video meaning he’d have had to open the device up and somehow add more memory AND somehow avoid the face burning that it would have given him as many in the Explorer program have noted that the device gets uncomfortably hot after smaller recording times (~15 minutes).

I just don’t get how the MPAA has and movie industry has the ear of the damn DHS when it comes to things like this. If George Orwell could have envisioned the state of technology we currently live in, would he in fact be spinning in his grave?


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