An Ohio man is crying foul after he was detained and interrogated by the feds – because he wore a Google Glass headset in a movie theater.
The bloke, who wishes to remain anonymous, said he was pulled from a screening of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit at the AMC Easton Town Center in Columbus by men who he claims identified themselves as US government agents.
After being told to step outside the theater, he was accused of using the Google Glass headset to record and pirate the film.
The chap, who uses the camera-fitted wearable computer with prescription lenses, told the agents that he was not recording the flick and did not have any footage from the theater stored on the head-mounted gadget. It was only after the g-men connected the headset to a laptop and searched its stored media – of his wife and dog, apparently - that the man was allowed to go on his way.
Though the fella said he wasn't sure at the time who exactly detained him in the mall office, he later identified the agents as employees of US Department of Homeland Security and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) which represents the top six Hollywood studios.
It's understood an MPAA representative was at the AMC, spotted the Google Glass wearer, and tipped off the feds.
"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," the headset owner claimed to tech blog The Gadgeteer.
The MPAA confirmed to The Register that it did, in fact, investigate the Glass-wearing chap at the Columbus theater.
"Google Glass is an incredible innovation in the mobile sphere, and we have seen no proof that it is currently a significant threat that could result in content theft," the MPAA said in a statement.
"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 US Department of Homeland Security polices piracy through its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) branch and the National Intellectual Property Rights Center. The office works with movie studios and cinemas to stop the reproduction and distribution of pirated films.
"On January 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," Khaalid Walls, an ICE spokesman, told a reporter at the Columbus Dispatch. "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."
Ryan Noonan, an AMC spokesman, told the newspaper: "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 theater." ®