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Homeland Security Grills Google Glass-Wearing Cinema Goer

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Google Glass gets anti-terror grilling over suspicions of copyright theft

You can now add the cinema to the list of places that its best not to wear Google Glass to, as one Ohio resident found to his cost following a sharp talking-to from Homeland Security.

The man, who has asked not to be identified, was dragged out of a screening of “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” at the AMC Easton Town Centre cinema in Columbus, and questioned for three and a half hours by officers who suspected he was recording the film, according to a report on The Gadgeteer.

Apprently suspected copyright theft is a terrorist issue – it has emerged the officers involved were with the anti-terror Homeland Security force.

google-glass-model-1Lengthy questioning

The man is one of Google’s ‘Explorer’ testers, and  wears Google Glass constantly as his normal glasses, having added his prescription lenses to the device. Although he had turned off all Google Glass functions about an hour into the screening, an official approached his seat, and upon flashing a badge, asked the man to follow him.

He was then questioned in an office outside the cinema by two agents (later identified as being from the Department of Homeland Security), who asked to see his work and personal phones and wallet, and asked him why he was using the Google Glass device to record the film.

After lengthy questioning, the man was ultimately freed after one of the agents connected the Google Glass device to a laptop. Having examined his personal photos and files, the agents concluded he had done nothing wrong and let him go. He was given four free cinema passes as recompense by the cinema – an offer he described as “infuriating”.

Federal authorities said they questioned the man at an AMC theatre in Columbus on Saturday after employees saw him wearing the device and reported it as a possible recording device.

Khaalid Walls, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, confirmed 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.”

Walls said the man voluntarily answered questions and no further action was taken.

AMC cinema spokesman Ryan Noonan said in a statement the company takes movie theft seriously.

“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 theatre,” Noonan said.

The man at the centre of the issue conceded he had been foolish in wearing Google Glass to the screening, saying, “I realise it’s stupid to have a device with a camera pointed at the screen, but I didn’t even think of it, because I don’t use Google Glass to record other people.”

“I guess until people get more familiar with Google Glass and understand what they are, one should not wear them to the movies.”

The incident is not the first time a Google Glass wearer has been in trouble with authorities. Last week, a California woman was cleared  of dangerous driving after being ticketed for wearing Google Glass as she drove, after the court found there was no way to prove the device was in operation at the time.

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