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Ohio man interrogated by Homeland Security for wearing Google Glass at movie

Google Glass will be closely monitored at movie theaters, based on the events in Ohio over this weekend
Google Glass will be closely monitored at movie theaters, based on the events in Ohio over this weekend
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In a story that sounds eerily similar to the espionage-themed film he was attempting to see, an Ohio man was pulled out of a screening of “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” over the weekend and questioned for an hour by federal authorities, all for wearing Google Glass during the movie.

In an account originally posted on The Gadgeteer, a man writing anonymously claims that he had been watching the movie for about an hour at an AMC Theater in Columbus, Ohio, when “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.’” Outside the theater, the man claimed that there were “about 5-10 cops and mall cops.”

“After an embarrassing 20-30 minutes outside the movie theater, me and my wife were conducted into two separate rooms in the ‘management’ office of Easton Mall, where the guy with the badge introduced himself again and showed me a different ID,” the man wrote.

According to the man’s account, the interrogating officer identified himself as “Bob Hope” of the “movie association,” although in an update to the original story, The Gadgeteer confirmed the officer was with the Department of Homeland Security. The man under interrogation says that his Google Glass was connected to a computer where it’s contents were downloaded. After looking through his personal photos and cell phone, authorities determined that the man wasn’t recording the movie. He was released and given four free passes to AMC Theaters.

In a statement sent to The Wrap, a spokesman for AMC Theaters says that they were simply following protocol when dealing with a patron who was suspected of pirating a film from one of their theaters.

“Movie theft is something we take very seriously, and our theater managers contact the Motion Picture Association of America anytime it’s suspected that someone may be illegally recording content on screen.

“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. At AMC Easton 30 last weekend, a guest was questioned for possible movie theft after he was identified wearing a recording device during a film.

“The presence of this recording device prompted an investigation by the MPAA, which was on site. The MPAA then contacted Homeland Security, which oversees movie theft. The investigation determined the guest was not recording content.”

MPAA authorities on site at a movie theater in Columbus, Ohio is interesting enough. The fact that those responsible for combating movie piracy are employed by the Department of Homeland Security makes this story doubly shocking.

This incident, along with another recent case of a woman who was issued a ticket, later dismissed, for wearing Google Glass while driving, underscores the changes we could be facing once this revolutionary piece of technology becomes more widely used.

For his part, the man who brought this incident to light says that he’s not upset about the investigation itself, just the fact that the authorities never apologized when he was released.

“I would have been fine with ‘I’m sorry this happened, please accept our apologies.’ Four free passes just infuriated me,” the man wrote.

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