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AMC Theaters Allegedly Calls FBI to Interrogate a Google Glass Wearer 1034

An anonymous reader writes "A Google Glass user was interrogated without legal counsel for a couple of hours under suspicion that he may have been recording a film in the AMC movie theater. Although the matter could have been cleared in minutes, federal agents insisted on interrogating the user for hours. So long for our constitutional freedoms." Hours of being detained that could have been avoided if they had just searched his devices (which he repeatedly suggested they do): "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." Update: 01/21 21:41 GMT by U L : The Columbus Dispatch confirmed the story with the Department of Homeland Security. The ICE and not the FBI detained the Glass wearer, and there happened to be an MPAA task force at the theater that night, who then escalated the incident.
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AMC Theaters Allegedly Calls FBI to Interrogate a Google Glass Wearer

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  • choice (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Threni ( 635302 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @06:11AM (#46022673)

    > federal agents insisted on interrogating the user for hours. So long for our
    > constitutional freedoms."

    Didn't he have the choice of just getting up and leaving? Was he under arrest? If he's not been arrested, how's he lost a freedom. And if he has, challenge it in court. Sounds like he's missed a trick here.

  • Re:Two words ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by m00sh ( 2538182 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @07:36AM (#46023025)

    1. Lawyer 2. Warrant

    Or maybe three words: Just Shut Up.

    Police will continue to bully people and overstep their authority as long as we let them. []

    I faced a similar situation.

    They are highly trained. They know how to push buttons, muddy matters to confuse you to get you to do what they want you to do. They will keep fishing until they find something that bothers you.

    It is not easy as just saying lawyer and warrant.

    I would suggest practicing the scenario. Just thinking you can say lawyer and warrant etc is completely different than when you are in the situation.

    For example, technically the police cannot search your car or belongings. However, they can search for weapons or they can search if there is some suspicion etc etc. There are many clauses. The police will start working you towards something that will enable them to search you. You have to practice otherwise you will be an amateur trying to battle professionals.

  • Re:Creepy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mrbester ( 200927 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @07:48AM (#46023095) Homepage

    Best part being his Glass *was* prescription. So not only is he guilty of pointing his face at a screen, he also is guilty of wanting to be able to discern what he is looking at. Presumably that costs more than the standard $15 he paid...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @08:03AM (#46023169)

    Send in a FOI request regarding the cost of this operation perhaps...

    That really should be charged to the theatre or movie company, IMO.

  • by umghhh ( 965931 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @08:28AM (#46023301)
    I feel your sentiment too but you know it is not working this way, do you not? I mean whatever that is at the beginning - mass but mostly failed attempts to fight the IP crime (funny how that has a different meaning in my and their worlds) or just exercises in using certain laws, it all may change into silent mode in which most will not be bothered but some chosen ones will be, because law allows it. I know it from old good times under communist regime. The laws guaranteed us all the freedoms people in the West (allegedly) had. Law enforcement could chose to follow them or to interpret the laws in their own different way. In their interpretation for instance any expression of criticism against ruling party was a violation of some law. There is a good case for laws that are broad and vaguely defined so that authorties can use them to subdue people at will as everybody is a criminal. They do not have to do it but they can because it is easier this way and so comes a police state. It is not inevitable but likely. It does not have to be an evil NK style police state but for people put on register of pedophiles as in operation Ore [] it did not make such a big difference. They authorities got more sophisticated these days but this does not mean it is better for us citizens, especially for those that try to correct evil actions of said government. In Europe we are not that far yet but we are also going this direction.
  • by EdgePenguin ( 2646733 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @08:36AM (#46023359) Homepage

    Assuming the story is true...

    1. The cinema guy is stupid for calling the FBI and escalating the situation way out of hand.

    2. The MPAA/FBI are stupid for actually putting time and resources into fighting cam-rips. Absolutely no threat to the industry, as anybody who has tried to watch one knows. Letting pirates have their cam-rips just makes authentic cinemagoing look better.

    3. The Glasshole was stupid for sitting in a cinema quite openly pointing a camera at the screen. Glass users appear to have their empathy surgically removed by Google, and are entirely oblivious to any kind of reaction anybody might have to a ubiquitous filming device. Repeating "but it isn't on" as a mantra does nothing to help. Having a face camera redefines your relations with other people and your environment, in an almost entirely negative way. You want to become a surveillance drone? Fine, deal with the social consequences.

    I'm normally on the side of the little guy, and against big media throwing its weight around. Glassholes are sufficiently selfish and idiotic for me to momentarily switch sides. I've already written about what a crappy society such people would create: []

  • Re:Creepy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rich0 ( 548339 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @08:43AM (#46023403) Homepage

    He was using a video recording device (i.e. wearing it with the camera pointed at the screen) in a cinema. All cinemas I've been to forbid that kind of thing for obvious reasons. I don't think he was "wrongly harassed and detained".

    That's only true if you accept that it is OK to ban pointing a recording device at a movie screen and not actually recording anything. I wouldn't be surprised if the law actually bans the possession of a recording device in a theater, which is something EVERYBODY breaks. Heck, there is a policy at my workplace that says that no employee may possess a camera that isn't registered with security. Back in the early 2000s (after everybody already had cell phone cameras) they even posted a sign by the gates stating that cell phone cameras are banned and should be turned into security. Even the corporate-issued cell phones were in violation of the policy. Yet, it remained policy all the same.

    People with the power to make laws enjoy making laws that make no sense. They're always overly broad in their scope, that way they can use discretionary enforcement. The company clearly doesn't want to fire all of its employees, but if they even suspect that an employee is taking photos of documents or whatever they can just search them on the way out the door and sure enough they'll have a reason to fire them.

    In this case Glass was also the guy's prescription glasses. Does he need to carry two sets of glasses now?

    And who would use Glass to pirate a movie in the first place? I doubt the video quality is all that great, and it is attached to a head that is constantly bobbing around. Plus they are worn in plain sight. Anybody who wants to pirate a movie will just bring in a concealed camera and mount it to a stable surface, or more likely still just collaborate with the theater owner. The whole idea of distributing a movie to thousands of theaters and then trying to keep it off of the internet is crazy to begin with - all it takes is one recording, and if they happen to get 2 they can even strip out the watermarking by comparing frames.

  • by Vanderhoth ( 1582661 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @08:47AM (#46023417)
    Actually this will be a real problem when they start having prescription Google Glass. People will ware them because they have to in order to see. If they take them off before going into a theater they won't be able to see the movie. I know the simple solution for them will be to just not go see movies, but it was a pretty similar scenario five to ten years ago with cell phones.

    I remember once, after paying for a tickets, my wife and I got the the theater doors (big multiplex theater) and there was a guy with a bin and bags sitting at the door making everyone put their phones in little plastic bags, write their names on them and toss them in the bin. My wife and I stopped going to the theaters for a couple years after that. We were rather insulted they made us pay nearly $50 (no refunds) before making us give up our brand new phones without telling us a head of time and we weren't going to leave our phones at home just because the theater didn't want us to have them. Just as I suspected would happen there was a bin of phones stolen because the guy that was suppose to be watching them ran off for a pee brake. The theater tried to give everyone a free movie as compensation, but was ultimately responsible for replacing everyone's phones, I'm betting some that weren't even stolen, which ended up costing them several thousand.

    And that was before people used their phones for anything serious like banking. I can only imagine the shit storm there'd be if peoples bank accounts started getting hacked after the theater lost them, but I'm off topic at this point.
  • by iapetus ( 24050 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @09:38AM (#46023819) Homepage

    Doesn't matter. If a turned-off Google Glass with no recently recorded video files on it can record a movie, your phone secreted in your clothing can certainly record it through cunningly concealed gaps in your clothing.

    And just why do you wear clothes to the movies when everyone knows they're the number one way of concealing illicit recording devices? What exactly have you got to hide, Mr Coward? Who are you working for? Why are you recording this movie? How much are you being paid?

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @09:49AM (#46023903)

    the popcorn kids don't have much training and the $500 bonus is a lot when you work at min wage. []

  • Re: (Score:4, Interesting)

    by davide marney ( 231845 ) <> on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @09:54AM (#46023947) Journal

    According to the article, he was told it was a voluntary interrogation. At that point, he should have just taken down the names of all the officers and movie theater staff and left.

    AMC is a terrible movie theater franchise. I carry my laptop in a backpack and get asked all the time to open my bag before going into an AMC theater. I always refuse, and they always bluster and threaten, but they still let me in. I don't mind having my bag searched as long as everybody's bag is being searched. I do mind being singled out for special handling. Other movie theater chains don't do this at all.

    AMC, I hope you get a ton of well-deserved bad press from this latest episode.

  • Re: (Score:4, Interesting)

    by davide marney ( 231845 ) <> on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @11:29AM (#46025147) Journal

    AMC is a de facto monopoly where I live, so I have little choice in the matter. There is still one independent movie theater operator, next to the local university, and that provides some relief.

    But, you know, you do have a point. Why SHOULD I pay $12.00 for a ticket + $8.00 for $0.25 worth of popcorn, when the entertainment experience lasts only a couple of hours? I go to the movies about 2-3 times a week, which is $2,080 per year on the low side. That is a lot of money to be sure. I do love the movies, but I don't have to necessarily fund these guys.

    Food for thought, food for thought.

  • Re:And? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Theaetetus ( 590071 ) <> on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @12:46PM (#46026259) Homepage Journal

    Do they just assign some random lawyer to you from the public defender's office? In that case you might be better off trying to be your own lawyer.

    It should be noted that this commonly held belief is actually false. Public defenders are paid hourly by the state or federal government, and thus have an incentive to do as much as possible for you. Unless you're very wealthy, private criminal defense attorneys tend to be paid a set retainer up front (e.g. "$5000 to get you to trial, and we'll talk then about the next retainer if you want to go through trial") and thus have an incentive to do as little as possible, since the less time they spend on you, the more profit they make. If you can't drop $50k on your defense, then you're much better off with the public defender.

  • by Meyaht ( 2729603 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @02:10PM (#46027409)
    Its one hour and forty minutes to get from FBI local in Cincinnati (closest location) to the Easton mall. He says that he was approached, with law enforcement in place outside waiting, and hour into the movie. He conveniently forgets the names of the agents (who ALWAYS give you their card). I don't believe him. Furthermore, nobody at the Easton mall gives 2 shits about their job, let alone AMC theaters employees.

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