Man Reportedly Removed From Movie Theater For Wearing Google Glass

Or: Why you should probably remove Glass when inside a theater.

Google Glass may still be a bit too obvious, a bit too weird-looking for non-techies to comprehend, which may be why one Ohio man was allegedly harassed by authorities when he strolled into a movie theater with the omnipresent face-phone attached to his forehead.

According to the Gadgeteer, the unnamed man recently went to see Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit at an AMC theater in Columbus, Ohio, where he had worn Google Glass "a couple of times" in the past. Instead of removing the $1,500 developer edition of Glass attached to his prescription frames during the movie, he chose to simply turn the device off. That's when the trouble started.

"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 says. "It was quite embarrassing and outside of the theater there were about 5-10 cops and mall cops."

Law enforcement apparently thought the movie-goer was secretly pirating the film, which is understandable. What happened next, er, isn't:

I kept telling them that I wasn't recording anything—my Glass was off, they insisted they saw it on... I didn’t have the intuition to tell them that Glass gets really warm if it records for more than a few minutes and my glasses were not warm. They wanted to know where I got Glass and how did I came by having it. I told them I applied about 1000 times to get in the explorer program, and eventually I was selected, and I got the Glass from Google. I offered to show them receipt and Google Glass website if they would allow me to access any computer with internet. Of course, that was not an option. Then they wanted to know what does Google ask of me in exchange for Glass, how much is Google paying me, who is my boss and why am I recording the movie.

It's not immediately clear who these authorities were. Initially the Glass-wearer thought they were FBI agents, but now claims they belonged to Homeland Security. Whoever they were, they concluded that he hadn't actually been filming (three-and-a-half hours later) and let him go. For his time and trouble, AMC offered him four free passes.

If this report is to be believed, it seems like the whole kerfuffle could have easily been avoided if he simply had the sense to, I dunno, not wear Glass inside a place where the devices are frowned upon? That said, this comes not long after a California driver was ticketed for driving while wearing Glass (the ticket was recently dismissed). If Glass is to become more mainstream, we should look forward to more debacles like these.

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  • This is the kind of thing that happens when people who know about new things are out and about in a world where most people have their head in the sand. If you're going to wear Google Glass out in public, you should already have your responses figured out, and be aware of various scenarios that are going to happen.