It turns out, wearing Google Glass could have consequences far graver than looking like a massive tool. This after an Ohio man wearing Google Glass at the movies over the weekend was pulled from a theater and interrogated by Homeland Security agents for almost three hours. I can only hope their first question was “why you hitting yourself?”
From the man’s first-hand account at The Gadgeteer:
About an hour into the movie (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit), 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”. It was quite embarrassing and outside of the theater there were about 5-10 cops and mall cops. Since I didn’t catch his name in the dark of the theater, I asked to see his badge again and I asked what was the problem and I asked for my Glass back. The response was “you see all these cops you know we are legit, we are with the ‘federal service’ and you have been caught illegally taping the movie”.
Of course, OF COURSE the guy was watching Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. There is no stronger statement of “I’m incredibly boring” than wearing Google Glass to a Tom Clancy movie, not even wearing a Tommy Bahama shirt to a Phil Collins concert. But it’s a good thing we have our Homeland Security forces protecting us from pirated shitty Chris Pine movies. If you can torrent Shadow Recruit, the terrorists win!
According to the man, who had put his prescription lenses in his Google Glass and had been wearing them everywhere for the past two months (*nearly passes out from rolling eyes*), the whole ordeal lasted almost three hours. At that rate, the poor bastard might as well have seen The Hobbit.
…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?). 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. 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.
Eventually, after a long time somebody came with a laptop and an USB cable at which point he told me it was my last chance to come clean. I repeated for the hundredth time there is nothing to come clean about and this is a big misunderstanding so the FBI guy finally connected my Glass to the computer, downloaded all my personal photos and started going though them one by one (although they are dated and it was obvious there was nothing on my Glass that was from the time period they accused me of recording). Then they went through my phone, and 5 minutes later they concluded I had done nothing wrong.
So, to all the kids out there who dream of a glamorous job working for Homeland Security, think about spending your Saturday night in Ohio, going through Google Glass Bob’s dog pictures.
I asked why didn’t they just take those five minutes at the beginning of the interrogation and they just left the room. A guy who claimed his name is Bob Hope (he gave me his business card) came in the room, and said he was with the Movie Association and they have problems with piracy at that specific theater and that specific movie. He gave me two free movie passes “so I can see the movie again”. I asked if they thought my Google Glass was such a big piracy machine, why didn’t they ask me not to wear them in the theater?
The MPAA rep’s name was Bob Hope! My God, this is a Coen Brothers scene. I don’t think any scene has ever so perfectly encapsulated the sheer Sisyphean absurdity of existence as Homeland Security spending three hours grilling Google Glass Bob over what shadowy cabal had sent him to buttcam Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit while his poor wife Belinda softly cries in the corner.
In a statement, the MPAA called Google Glass “an incredible innovation in the mobile sphere” and said it has “seen no proof that it is currently a significant threat that could result in content theft.
“The MPAA works closely with theaters all over the country to curb camcording and theater-originated piracy, and in this particular case, no such activity was discovered,” the statement continued.
The Department of Homeland Security also issued a statement on the incident:
“On Jan. 18, special agents with ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations and local authorities briefly interviewed a man suspected of using an electronic recording device to record a film at an AMC theater in Columbus. The man, who voluntarily answered questions, confirmed to authorities that the suspected recording device was also a pair of prescription eye glasses in which the recording function had been inactive. No further action was taken. ” [HollywoodReporter]
Can someone stop this mobile sphere? I’d like to get off now.
[Pictured: NBC News Producer Frank Thorp, via Getty images]