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McDonald's Denies Prof's Claim Staff Attacked Him For Wearing Digital Glasses 627

Posted by samzenpus
from the grimace-on-grimace dept.
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "In an update to a story posted on Slashdot earlier this week, McDonald's has responded to the claims of Steve Mann, a University of Toronto professor and augmented reality pioneer who says McDonald's staff in Paris assaulted him tried to pull off a computer eyepiece he's worn for decades, then threw him out of the restaurant. McDonald's confirms that Mann was ejected from the premises, but denies that there was a 'physical altercation' with staff or that they destroyed any of his property. That last claim is especially dubious, since Mann has posted photos taken from his eyepiece that show McDonald's staff ripping up a doctor's note that he showed them to explain his need to wear the device. The company still hasn't explained why Mann was removed from the restaurant, but Mann has speculated that it has a policy against recording."
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McDonald's Denies Prof's Claim Staff Attacked Him For Wearing Digital Glasses

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  • Yeah... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SomePgmr (2021234) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:29PM (#40692569) Homepage

    Ok, McD's... let's see the security footage.

    You're in the court of public opinion and it ain't lookin' good.

  • by ThatsMyNick (2004126) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:37PM (#40692645)

    Do you also stand behind assaulting customers?

  • by DuChamp Fitz (987592) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:46PM (#40692727)
    by keeping him from eating McDonald's.
  • An Ridiculous Policy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:46PM (#40692735)

    MacDonald's hostility to photography, like that of Starbucks, is ridiculous.

    Modern digital cameras easy to conceal. Besides, anyone with genuine interior design talent could visit one of their business, eating a burger while seeming to be doing no more than casually glance around. They could then go away and recreate what they saw almost as precisely as a photograph.

    These blunders are probably the result of lawyers getting involved. A lawyer will attempt to deny anything that he thinks the other side can't prove. MacDonald's lawyers apparently aren't aware of just how much got recorded.

    One suggestion to Slashdot readers. If you're in a situation like this, do your best to use your phone to record what's happening without being noticed. That'll help the good guy in the dispute. You might even practice what you should do, from starting up a camera app to perhaps slipping it in a shirt pocket with the lens able to see everything that's happening.

    --Michael W. Perry, author of Untangling Tolkien

  • by Namarrgon (105036) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:47PM (#40692745) Homepage

    But it's cool for McDonald's (and most retailers) to record you, with their own security cameras?

  • DPA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:14PM (#40692961)

    Why doesn't he do a Data Protection Act (all EU members have one) request on the CCTV footage, he will have to pay a small fee but he can get any footage he appears in.

  • Re:McD in Paris? (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:19PM (#40692999)

    This is the last "restaurant" I would consider for any meal in Paris.

    I guess you haven't traveled for weeks on end to places where the much-vaunted local food either tastes like shit or costs €80 for a tough cut of flank steak, two pieces of cool asparagus, and a "salad" consisting of a slice of tomato (albeit artfully arranged in the shape of a broken ukelele.) After a couple weeks of staying drunk enough to choke down the strained sink-basket-leavings sold as soup, McD's looks like a beacon of comfort food.

    And then he gets typical French service anyway. Not sure what he expected over there, really.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:19PM (#40693003)

    At least when I was there...

    I was in a Paris McDonalds in 2005, and pulled out my camera to take a photo of the menu board. Before I could even focus a man tapped me on the shoulder, point at the camera, and shook his head. He had on a McDonalds uniform but I think was security. He didn't leave my side while in the store. I just wanted my Royale with Cheese photo!

  • Re:Live in Reality (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Eevee (535658) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:21PM (#40693007)
    For what it's worth, the story is hitting Bing's "Popular Now". So anyone curious why "Human cyborg" is trending is getting to see Cyborg Steve Mann details alleged McDonald's assault [msn.com] as the top story.
  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:31PM (#40693081)

    The company still hasn't explained why Mann was removed from the restaurant, but Mann has speculated that it has a policy against recording.

    Not sure about the arches (have refused to eat there for the last 36 years - that's my right, don't mod me down because you eat there), but I've seen a sign on company owned Burger King restaurants that forbid customers from using cameras on the premises. This warning is on the same door sticker that advises customers that the store is recording them! I asked the manager and he said, yes, it does apply ever to someone wanting to record a child's birthday party there. When I said "It makes you wonder and worry about what the company is trying to hide" he just laughed and said "Yea.".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:47PM (#40693195)

    I am skeptical of Steve's side to all of this.
    Note the following:

    *I see many commentors claiming that Steve's apparatus is screwed to his skull and is necessary. Many of Steve's students have routinely seen him walking around without a computer. I have never seen any evidence that he has any sort of implants, and am pretty certain he doesnt have stuff screwed to the skull. Notice how he doesnt clairify these things.

    * As far as I can tell, his single entry blog is the first place I've seen him refer to his HMD as Eyetap Digital glass. This is undoubtadley for him to associate with the Google Glass project.

    *Take a look at his wikipedia entries under "gloggee". He has a penchant for making up neologisms an claiming to ha e invented things that he wasnt really involved with.

  • Re:there are signs (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @10:11PM (#40693337)

    Here's the thing: It's a device he had implanted because he wanted it, not because he needed it. If I decide to implant a camera on my feet and then go walking around in sandals in a Catholic school that has a "no cameras aimed up a girl's skirt" policy, they would be in the right to kick me out. The guy has a history of being a jerk in order to promote himself, and this fits that history.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @10:36PM (#40693507)

    This is the 2nd report of physical assault by McDonald's staff at that same location to hit the news:

    http://onyoursi.de/2011/08/whats-your-problem-assaulted-for-taking-a-photo-of-le-menu/ [onyoursi.de]

    McDonald's insists Sheldon wasn't touched during the confrontation. But Sheldon remembers it differently.

    "She grabbed me by my arm and jacket and threw my back against the open door, all the while grabbing at different parts of my coat with one hand and pinning me there with another," Sheldon told me.

    And McDonald's explanation of what occurred does not match the photo. If lying about the situation seems to work, then of course the employees at that location are never going to feel like assaulting customers has any consequences.

  • by abarrow (117740) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @11:05PM (#40693669) Homepage

    Dr. Mann has had this sort of thing happen to him his entire professional career. Here's one from 2002
    http://it.slashdot.org/story/02/03/14/2051228/airport-security-vs-cyborg-steve-mann [slashdot.org]

  • Re:there are signs (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @11:17PM (#40693739)

    Private security in France do NOT have the right to physically assault someone even if they did something like break some anti camera rule in a fucking fast food. The ONLY thing they can do is to call the police. They do not have any other right. And certainly NOT the right to destroy private property.
    The only time violence is permitted for any group besides the cops themselves is when someone's in danger and you don't have any choice but make the assailant submit with physical means.

    This isn't the Far West. This isn't America. This is civilized France. As a French myself I can guarantee that the McDonald's employees were in the wrong.

    Guards in supermarkets and malls don't even have the right to search your bags if they suspect an act of thievery although they CAN make an attempt at stalling/preventing you from fleeing. But only a cop can search your bag. (there are a few exceptions but irrelevant in a day to day context.. those few exceptions being stuff like airports, ports...)

  • by Miamicanes (730264) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @11:34PM (#40693851)

    If you REALLY want to have some fun, try calling any major corporation (Comcast, Sprint, Microsoft, Marriott, whomever) and announcing to the CSR that you're recording the call for training and quality purposes. Assuming they don't hang up on you INSTANTLY, the conversation isn't going to progress beyond "I'm sorry, we can't continue until you stop recording."

    Pointing out to them that THEY'RE doing the exact same thing to YOU will get you nowhere. Telling them that you'll discontinue recording when THEY do will get you hung up on. Telling them you'll quit recording when they tell you how to obtain your own copy of their recording later will get you hung up on. Simply put, no corporation will EVER voluntarily or knowingly allow you, a peon, to record your conversation with them, even though they feel perfectly entitled to record their conversation with YOU, and use it against you if it suits them.

    There should seriously be a law granting consumers the automatic reciprocal right to silently record any conversation where the other party announces that the call is being recorded & makes it clear that you do NOT have the option of continuing the call unless you agree to let them do it.

  • Re:Live in Reality (Score:2, Interesting)

    by iamhassi (659463) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @11:46PM (#40693913) Journal

    This is a PR nightmare for McDonald's and they're only making it worse.

    Nonsense. I read a number of newspapers and Internet news sites, and this is the first I've heard of it, and like most people, really don't care that much.

    actually... I didn't care much either, until McDonald's replied to it and McDonald's confirmed Mann was ejected from premises.

    See, that's the rub, Mann claims he was physically assaulted, McDonald's claims he was... what, politely asked to leave and he got up and said "Oh very well then I shall be off on my way thank you very much for the meal good sirs!"

    Come on McD's! That's hard to swallow (ha!). You're telling us you DID kick him out but he's completely lying about the manner in which he was kicked out?

    I don't buy it.

    McDonalds there was only TWO ways of solving this:
    1) Completely deny ANYTHING happened. All of it, never happened, complete lie. Not the best way, see 2)
    2) Apologize PROFUSELY over what happened, promise to "fully compensate Mann for the destruction of his property and any mental anguish he endured", and promise to launch a "FULL investigation".... and then do nothing... well, negotiate paying Mann over the next few months until story blows over and then give him a fraction of what he's really deserved. Makes McD look good and costs very little.

    Really people public relations is not that hard. Confirming what happened and then claiming "Oh we didn't ASSAULT Mann, He freely chose to stand up and leave" looks really bad.

    whoever is your public relations should be fired for making a non-story into a story. It was better before being just one sided. Open mouth insert foot.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @11:53PM (#40693939)

    He's done this sort of thing before. I have personally witnessed the way he behaves with his 'apparatus'. The real story here is why this only happens once in a while. Most people I've met want to punch him after only about 2 minutes of being around him.

  • by taylorius (221419) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @04:27AM (#40695445) Homepage

    Tell them you're recording the call at the same point their pre-recorded voice tells you "calls may be recorded...". Just say it back to the recorded voice.

  • by Higgs Bosun (2676655) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @05:16AM (#40695687)

    It sucks, but that's just the world today. In a related way. notice how employment contracts mention that you're liable for any damage you cause to company property, but they're not liable if they damage your property? Or how they expect you to consistently work unpaid overtime; expect you to be available on call when you're at home/on leave; and generally expect it to be no big deal to impose on your own time outside work. But if you have to spend some work time to deal with even an minor personal issue then suddenly there's a huge stink made about the impact it's having on business continuity; costing the company time etc. I'm talking about small things like phoning the doctor to make an appointment (using your own mobile!), personal conversations with other staff (they want team bonding, but you can only talk about things immediately relating to work?), being ten minutes late become of unexpected roadworks, etc.

    It seems we're just here to be used by companies (either as customers or employers), we exist only to make other people wealthy.

  • by grahamm (8844) <gmurray@webwayone.co.uk> on Thursday July 19, 2012 @05:38AM (#40695787) Homepage

    And their normal (at least in the UK) notification to you that "calls may be recorded..." is giving you permission to record. If they did not want you to record then they should announce "WE may record calls..."

  • Re:there are signs (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lando (9348) <lando2+slash AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday July 19, 2012 @07:37AM (#40696293) Homepage Journal

    Like I said, I don't know the specifics, but as far as glasses go, you take my glasses you are coming in contact with me. Even if I don't start spouting blood out of numerous wounds, it's assault, perhaps even theft. Since the glasses he was/is wearing are probably worth over a grand, I believe that is also a felony.

    Seriously, I've worn glasses since I was 9 years old and I can't remember one incident where it's ever been acceptable for someone to take the glasses off my face without my authorization. Perhaps they just didn't do it when I was overseas because I was in the military and they didn't want me shooting a cruise missile at them? Or perhaps, it's not acceptable anywhere to grab someone's glasses from off there face, except of course in McDonald's at a certain location in Paris.

    As posted in another message here, this isn't the first incident at this particular McDonald's either.

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