Google Glass will be banned in UK movie theaters


The concerns over Google Glass aren’t going away, and according to a report from The Independent, the company’s most controversial gadget is getting the cold shoulder from movie theaters in the United Kingdom. In the report, the website confirms that Google Glass will be banned in movie theaters across the UK because there is a fear that people will use the device to pirate blockbuster films.

“Customers will be requested not to wear these into cinema auditoriums, whether the film is playing or not," said Phil Clapp, the chief executive of the Cinema Exhibitors' Association.

According to the article, Vue Cinema, a UK chain, said customers would be asked to take their Google Glass off "as soon as the lights dim.”

The precedent for this type of ban has already been set in the United States by the Alamo Drafthouse theater chain, which put its rule into action in June. The Drafthouse doesn't allow the device to be worn once the lights dim and the trailers begin to play.

Despite the Google Glass prototype being available in the United States for more than two years, the United Kingdom is just now getting its first taste of the device for £1,000. And while there is a demand for the tech, businesses and lawmakers are unsure of where to draw the line of privacy.

Proponents of Google Glass will point to a feature on the device that forces it to power down after 45 minutes of consecutive recording. While that may be enough to deter some pirates, the article points out that you could just as easily splice footage together with another user to complete an entire movie. Or, simply, you could have more than one pair on you while sitting in your seat.

Google Glass also lights up when recording, which is a powerful tool to spot anyone using the feature. However, according to the article, that didn’t stop one user from being asked to take off his headset at a Leicester Square theater by a member of the staff, who said they could not monitor whether or not it was recording.

“We recommend any cinemas concerned about Glass to treat the device as they treat similar devices like mobile phones: simply ask wearers to turn it off before the film starts. Broadly speaking, we also think it’s best to have direct and first-hand experience with Glass before creating policies around it. The fact that Glass is worn above the eyes and the screen lights up whenever it’s activated makes it a fairly lousy device for recording things secretly,” a spokesperson for Google said about the issue.

It looks like the company wants theater owners and managers to try the device out for themselves before universally banning its use. Unfortunately suggestions like this won't be enough to quell concerns about privacy and piracy.

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