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Woman Attacked In San Francisco Bar For Wearing Google Glass 921

Posted by timothy
from the asking-for-it dept.
First time accepted submitter Martin Blank writes "Sarah Slocum, an early adopter of Google Glass, was bar hopping with friends in San Francisco when a few people in the bar took issue with the eyewear when she was demonstrating it to another patron even though she wasn't recording. When she felt threatened, she informed them that she would start recording. Two of them approached her, yelling and throwing a bar rag at her, and ultimately ripping the Glass from her face and running from the bar with it. She gave chase and eventually got the Glass back, but her purse was gone when she returned to the bar. This physical level of hostility is unusual, but discomfort with Glass is common, especially among those who don't understand how it works. Given that much more hidden spy cameras are available for far less than the $1500 cost of Glass, what will it take for general acceptance to finally take hold?"
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Woman Attacked In San Francisco Bar For Wearing Google Glass

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:10AM (#46357179)

    discomfort with Glass is common, especially among those who don't understand how it works

    No... especially among those who do understand how it works.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jythie (914043)
      Not really. Buying into fear and hype is not the same thing as understanding something. In fact it is kinda the opposite.
      • by asmkm22 (1902712) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @02:26PM (#46360271)

        Except that I do understand how it works, and definitely do not like the idea of having that kind of product around. But yeah, I must be buying into fear and hype because there's no other reason for people to not like the idea of having a fairly concealed recording device that may or may not be recording.

    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:30AM (#46357511)
      Yes, I'm sure the guys at the bar were taking a principled stand here.

      "Listen *hic* lady... you need to *hic* read sche... shnedr... schnieder on security. Or is it *hic* Krebbs? Listen, here's the thing *hic* when I go out in public *hic* I don't expect anonymimitiy through obscurity... I mean security... but your wearable glasses camera makes it easeir for *hic* yahoo... NO (slaps self) stupid! I mean Google and the NSA to invade my privacy. Look *hic* at CCCTVs in england. Yeah. That's it. (barfs)"
  • by Electricity Likes Me (1098643) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:10AM (#46357181)

    If someone starts threatening you you start recording. Because if they steal from you, or strike you, they've committed assault and you'll have iron clad evidence of it.

  • by wiredog (43288) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:11AM (#46357197) Journal

    to finally take hold?

    Oh, I dunno, maybe not wearing it in a bar and threatening to record other people with it when they don't want to be recorded.

    Or, maybe, we'll just have to get used to living in a post-privacy future.

  • by N1AK (864906) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:12AM (#46357211) Homepage

    what will it take for general acceptance to finally take hold?"

    We've got one example of some dickheads and that's grounds to claim it isn't generally accepted? If there's only a couple of examples of people getting hassle for wearing something new and novel then I'd say that's pretty much the definition of generally accepted.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rhazz (2853871)
      Very much agree! Regardless of the actual acceptance levels, one incident is statistically insignificant. If you replaced the gadget in this case with a hand-held camcorder, would you suggest that camcorders are not generally accepted? Or maybe just recording devices in general are not accepted in this context.

      Also I would say that the number of Google Glass related violent incidents is over-reported compared to other tech-gadget related incidents, since this is only news because it involves Glass.
    • If there's only a couple of examples of people getting hassle for wearing something new and novel then I'd say that's pretty much the definition of generally accepted.

      For a device that's still not generally available; only available in developer quantities at a high price? I don't think so.

      A number of us here have pointed out that people wearing Google Glass are so annoying to people around them that they risk being punched. A warning that's been repeated by Google fans as if it's a threat. But it was no threat, just a prediction. And here we see one early example of that prediction more or less coming true.

      She wasn't punched, but it was bad enough considering she's fema

  • LED (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:12AM (#46357217)

    what will it take for general acceptance to finally take hold?

    A red LED that glows when the 'glasses' are actually recording and is dark when they aren't.

    • Re:LED (Score:5, Informative)

      by radja (58949) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:19AM (#46357321) Homepage

      just stop pointing your camera at me. I don't care if it's showing a red light or not. She was being obnoxious, and wouldn't stop when asked.

      • by Hentai (165906)

        just stop pointing your camera at me. I don't care if it's showing a red light or not. She was being obnoxious, and wouldn't stop when asked.

        I thought the article said she wasn't recording, just showing it to someone else?

      • So live your life in a cave? You know people can take pictures of you anytime anywhere in public.
    • Re:LED (Score:5, Informative)

      by Gunboat_Diplomat (3390511) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:28AM (#46357467)

      what will it take for general acceptance to finally take hold?

      A red LED that glows when the 'glasses' are actually recording and is dark when they aren't.

      Which is easily disabled. Even laptop camera lights that claimed to be "hardware inline" has been showed to have exploits that malware can use to disable the light while recording (they won't really be as "inline" as you think because of noise issues with that, and the fact that many cameras these days double as light sensors, so they are always on). If you are the owner it is even easier, you can cover up the light, or disconnect a wire.

      • by noh8rz10 (2716597)

        true there will always be uber-glassholes that will go out of their way to violate people's privacy, but if there were a red light at all at least Goog would be acknowledging the problem instead of validating all the glass holes.

  • by Chas (5144) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:14AM (#46357235) Homepage Journal

    Seriously. We're already living in a panopticon society, being recorded by the government and private business almost 24x7.
    Now we have a bunch of people OPENLY wearing cameras on their heads, recording our every moment in public too, whether we want it or not.
    I can understand a certain modicum of hostility. Granted, nobody should EVER be PHYSICALLY attacked. But the people behind Google Glass, as well as the users of the product need to understand that this product is going to be pushing people's buttons.

    • by CastrTroy (595695) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:37AM (#46357615) Homepage
      I guess if you're in a bar, you can tell the owner/manager to get rid of the person with the camera. If they don't then you can just leave. The owner/manager of the bar can make their decision if it's more in their business interests to allow of disallow Google Glass. There's almost always better solutions than violence.
      • There's almost always better solutions than violence.

        Sure, but this was in a bar. Where people tend to be drunk. You can easily get beaten up in a bar for simply looking at someone for what they believe is too long, or in a funny way. If you look with Google Glass on your face the likelihood of exception being taken and fists flying is of course magnified.

      • by Chas (5144)

        I guess if you're in a bar, you can tell the owner/manager to get rid of the person with the camera. If they don't then you can just leave. The owner/manager of the bar can make their decision if it's more in their business interests to allow of disallow Google Glass. There's almost always better solutions than violence.

        Again, like I said. People shouldn't resort to assault and battery.

        But they shouldn't have to simply "accept" this either.

  • by stiggle (649614) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:14AM (#46357243)

    See if the response is the same.
    Tell the patrons that its OK, you're not actually recording anything despite holding the camera in a manner to record.

    Or you could just put the Google Glass in your pocket and socialise with your friends without the need for a constant internet connection.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      She was socializing by showing someone what they were and how they work. She wasn't just wearing them around a bar and walking up to random people to show them her glasses.

  • by Mad Bad Rabbit (539142) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:16AM (#46357261)

    FTA: "You [i.e. rich hipster techies] are killing this city!"

    It may have ostensibly been about privacy, but clearly it was also about resentment towards tech-industry aristos displacing everyone else,
    with their private busses and their artisanal vodkas and fancy gadgets and most of all their ability to pay obscene rents and stay in The City
    rather than commuting in from Gilroy.

  • Maybe bar hopping is not the best plan.
    Oh and Protip: Never set your wallet/purse down in a bar.
  • Simple solution (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EzInKy (115248) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:16AM (#46357279)

    Don't bring recordable media into bars. People go to bars to relax and be themselves, fear of being recorded makes them unable to do just that.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Simple solution, don't attack people just becasue they are doing something they have the right to be doing.

  • All Positive (Score:3, Informative)

    by invid (163714) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:18AM (#46357303) Homepage
    My step-son owns Google Glass and he went with us on a cruise recently. All the reactions I saw were very positive. He allowed other to wear it and demonstrated how it worked to anyone who was interested. If anything, it added to his popularity.
  • by JavaBear (9872)

    It seems to me that the real "glass holes" are those without Google glass.

    • by jythie (914043)
      More and more I am agreeing. I do not have a use for such devices, but if I did, I would probably get one in part because my respect for the detractors and their arguments has been rapidly going down. They talk about pretentious and douchyness, but they seem to exhibit far more of it then the 'glass holes'.
  • by wooppp (921578) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:19AM (#46357325) Journal
    "...but her purse was gone when she returned to the bar.". Is it just the plain old distraction tactics?
  • by kheldan (1460303) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:22AM (#46357361) Journal
    People don't like being recorded, or even the possibility of being recorded, without their express permission. That's not going to change, therefore there isn't going to be any "general acceptance" of technology like this.
    • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:32AM (#46357553)

      People don't like being recorded, or even the possibility of being recorded, without their express permission. That's not going to change, therefore there isn't going to be any "general acceptance" of technology like this.

      Seems people don't like being recorded by individuals they can actually see in the flesh, and just accept the recording of themselves by whoever mounts a camera on the ceiling or wall anywhere. And I don't think it's just the tacit acceptance of being monitored and recorded as a condition of darkening someone's door: I suspect that the average person would be far more uncomfortable with a mall cop pointing a camera at them in person vs. monitoring them from a back office with an array of pannable cameras as they moved about the premises. Even though the net result is the same, it's the apparent human element that I suspect makes Average Joe uncomfortable.

      • by east coast (590680) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @02:14PM (#46360089)
        Not really. An automated CCTV system is accepted because we know why it's there. It's for liability reasons. It's to protect the businesses/properties in question. Most of us know that these images will never even be seen by a real person let alone posted to YouTube or worse.

        Normal people start wondering what's going on when someone randomly starts taking pictures of them. It raises alarm in a lot of people. The alcohol that was likely involved in this incident probably didn't help matters either.

        Would you be 100% comfortable with someone recording you for no obvious reason in public? If so, you're probably the exception. And I'm not saying this as justification for what happened but as a reason why GG and things of that nature are going to get a lot of resistance. Try pulling out your phone in a bar and hold it up like you're recording, you'll notice that people will shy away from you or maybe even worse.
  • by sacdelta (135513) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:22AM (#46357369)

    While I would prefer to see a red led indicating that it is actively recording, that's not the only issue.

    The early adopters are also actively running around flaunting that they had an extra $1,500 just lying around. It is also similar to the hostility growing about the elite companies busing their employees. There is a level of elitism that is being flaunted about by these people and that doesn't sit well with many people. Especially with a growing divide of haves and have nots.

    In this case it seems that since they eventually just grabbed the device, that all of the bluster was probably just show to get them in a position to steal it.

  • It is not the same (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lawrence_Bird (67278) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:24AM (#46357415) Homepage

    Google glass is up front and personal. Eye level, quality video and audio. That is far different than an overhead security cam, even the best ones. The reaction is the same as if a person was recording with a hand held video camera in a bar. How well do you think that would be tolerated, especially if it was not directed at an immediate group of friends and short lived? How would you feel sitting in that bar with the other patron aimlessly recording for 30, 60 or more minutes? Would you be surprised if someone got up and knocked the camera out of their hand? Verbally berated them? Pushed them?

    • by geekoid (135745)

      "How well do you think that would be tolerated, especially if it was not directed at an immediate group of friends and short lived? "
      happens every day all over the place. Just with Cell phones. Many of which you can't tell are recording.
      "Would you be surprised if someone got up and knocked the camera out of their hand? Verbally berated them? Pushed them?"
      Yes I would. Most people are civilized enough to go to the manager/bar tender and ask them to have the person turn off the camera or that they are leaving.

  • by Natales (182136) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:25AM (#46357423)
    The real issue here is what's actually going on in SF. If you don't live here you probably don't know, but there has been a lot of soft aggression against tech workers regardless of the company all over the city, simply because more and more are moving in, driving up the prices of housing and attracting more higher-end businesses, effectively changing the nature of traditionally "working class" neighborhoods. Classic gentrification.

    This bar in particular is more of a punk-type place, located exactly in one of those areas under rapid changing, so the presence of someone with GG was probably an in-your-face reminder (no pun intended) of the situation many of the locals are experiencing.

    I can personally understand both sides, but I tend to side with history: everything changes over time and different forces will produce different changes. You can fight it only to a certain degree, but change is inexorable, and you can't forever cling to "the way things were before".
  • by OzPeter (195038) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:25AM (#46357427)

    From TFA

    Slocum said she was bar hopping with friends when they ended up at the bar in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. She was showing one curious bar patron Google Glass when two women started shielding their faces and rolling their eyes, she said. One of the women made an obscene gesture, Slocum said.
    Feeling threatened, she said she told them she was going to record with Google Glass.
     
    That’s when she said one of the women and a man “charged” her, telling her they did not want to be filmed.

    She could have walked away, but instead she chose to up the ante by threatening the patrons with recording their objections to being filmed.
     
     

    Slocum said the woman then ran up to her, saying “you are killing the city” and tried to grab Google Glass from her. Then the man “ripped them off my face and ran out of the bar,” Slocum said.

    Now that is interesting as it may be indicative of a general anti-Google aspect in the city as much as an anti-glass thing.

  • by ciaran_o_riordan (662132) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:27AM (#46357455) Homepage

    I wouldn't be aggressive, but I also think it's unacceptable that people film me constantly when I'm trying to relax. Especially in bars and similar places where I have high expectations of being away from the scrutiny of everyone but the people I've chosen to socialise with.

    Pointing cameras at people (and optionally saying "I swear it's not recording"), in the form of phones or Glass or whatever, is simply a really anti-social thing to do.

    So is aggression and theft, but one wrong doesn't mean we should turn the other person into a white knight as this article tries to do.

  • Given that much more hidden spy cameras are available for far less than the $1500 cost of Glass, what will it take for general acceptance to finally take hold?

    Your question is nonsensical: Those people would likely be even more furious if they knew your clothes were covered in pinhole spy cameras.

    The problem is people don't like having creepy strangers record them in public, regardless of whether they have the "right" to do so or not. The issue is the human discomfort and you might get to a point where people won't just kick your ass for looking at them while wearing Google Glass (or similar invasive, idiotic, and useless products) but you'll never in our lifetime get people "comfortable" with some creepy asshole filming them out in public. Nor will you ever get them comfortable with the perception that they're being recorded.

    I wonder what the over/under on somebody hacking Google Glass to disable the "recording" light is--assuming such a hack doesn't exist already in the wild and we just haven't heard about it.

  • by scotts13 (1371443) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:29AM (#46357499)

    "...what will it take for general acceptance to finally take hold?"

    Major changes in society, that won't be happening anytime soon. Look, we're already monitored basically 24/7. We don't like it, but if we squint our eyes and look the other way, we can pretend we aren't. The Google Glass thing is just shoving it in our faces and not allowing us to ignore it. (The reasonably common perception of Glass wearers as pretentious hipsters doesn't help).

    I think it's far more likely that places like bars (where we want to relax and do foolish things) will ADVERTISE that they don't allow these devices, and don't record internally. Glass may be the straw that triggers the backlash.

  • by jmd (14060) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:31AM (#46357519)

    I didn't inhale back in the 60s either.

    On or off the issue is not what she is doing. But what she is perceived as doing.

  • People hate cameras. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MaWeiTao (908546) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:31AM (#46357529)

    People turn quite irrational at the prospect of being photographed or filmed. I've run into problems overseas, but I almost think it's worse in the US. People seem to take issue with the mere presence of a camera. If you're shooting buildings that are not established landmarks you get odd looks. And I got approached once because I was taking photos of car taillights for a project. They were still suspicious after showing them my shots. The only time you're really not going to have a problem is when you're with friends and your camera is clearly pointed at them.

    Google Glass, however, takes this perceived threat to a whole other level because you've got a camera stuck to your head and in the minds of the ignorant you're recording everything you see.

    Of course, we don't really know the nature of the incident; if this woman was antagonistic herself, if the other party were resentful of someone flaunting wealth, if theft was the motive, or if they really were just plain stupid. Either way, bars and such tend to attract imbeciles which is why I would never wear something like Google Glass out at night. At least not until the technology became ubiquitous and accepted.

    • by scotts13 (1371443) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:48AM (#46357805)

      Of course, we don't really know the nature of the incident; if this woman was antagonistic herself...

      If you read the original article, a couple of women nearby rolled their eyes and covered their faces, clearly not wanting to be recorded. She said she felt "threatened" by this, and specifically TOLD them she would now be recording them. Sounds pretty antagonistic to me.

  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland.yahoo@com> on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:36AM (#46357597) Homepage Journal

    more to do with assholes looking for an excuse to harass someone, and possible a scam specifically to steal her purse,

    Lets not attribute to society as a whole premises based on violate actions some some assholes who clearly need therapy.

  • by murdocj (543661) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:39AM (#46357639)

    She told them "I'm going to start recording you" and THEN they went after her. Perhaps if she was less aggressive nothing would have gone wrong? Just a thought.

  • by argStyopa (232550) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:42AM (#46357683) Journal

    Remember the douchebags that leave their bluetooth headphone thing in their ear all day long, ostensibly because it's more convenient, but more of a status declaration (because frankly, how much "work" is it to either lift up your cell phone when it rings, or put in the earpiece when it rings?) to all around them?

    Yeah, Google Glass is like that, to the exponential power of "look how much more $ I have than you".

    Personally, no, I don't believe I need to simply "accept" that someone's desperate need to stay connected to the interwebs" is so significant that he/she can't take the bloody thing off in a social situation.

    If someone were to stand there filming me, I might object as well. If they were to start doing it without asking, I might firmly object.

    Here's my tip, if you're going to assault someone with Google Glasses on, make sure you a) assault them from behind, preferably either with something over their head, or at least knock the glasses off, b) step on the glasses ASAP.

    I'm not saying anyone should hurt anyone (I expect you'll get caught, anyway) but I'm reaching the point where ostentatious disregard for other people should treated with cavalier disregard for their social contract in turn.

  • by MatthiasF (1853064) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:48AM (#46357809)
    Where I need to worry that any moment of my life can appear on online without my permission.

    Where I need to worry someone has turned on and off their recording at opportune times of that moment that appeared on online to make me look bad without giving full context of the situation.

    Where I need to pay money to remove said videos from the Internet.

    Where I cannot walk down the street, eat at a restaurant, workout at a gym, or celebrate at a bar without worrying someone is recording to be uploaded and judged harshly by tens of thousands if not millions of people.

    I doubt anyone else wants to live in that world either, but every time someone resigns themselves to allowing it that world arrives that much sooner.
  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @01:37PM (#46359537) Homepage

    "...what will it take for general acceptance to finally take hold?"

    For me? A reasonable belief that the recording will not become part of a centralized surveillance database of sightings of me and my fellow citizens that can be datamined decades from now. The same thing I want for ATM cameras, license plate scanners, and all the other increaslingly pervasive permanent, personally identifiable record systems. Reasonable expectation of privacy isn't just about whether I am concealed from perception, it is also about the reasonable belief that where I have been and what I've been doing will generally be forgotten if I'm not famous and it isn't criminal behavior or otherwise significantly offensive.

    In short, I will become accepting when I believe the device shows the same degree of civil discretion and temporal fade that I would expect from a random stranger who sees me walk out of a strip club or hydroponics store (neither of which are my personal pecadillo, but the best I could come up with). I do not have that belief currently about Google Glass. It's the same motive that causes me to limit my use of Facebook (six logins of less than fifteen minutes each last year -- I counted). Problem with Google Glass is I can't choose when you are going to sacrifice my privacy to your corporate overlord's time- and GPS- stamped photo surveillance database.

  • by slashmydots (2189826) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @01:41PM (#46359595)
    Someone in England covered a speed trap camera with a burlap bag, set it on fire, and police are saying it was likely on purpose (lol). A LOT of people in England walk around with their face obscured by a handkerchief to protest CC TV camera. A ton of those cameras have been vandalized or destroyed.
    So back in Freedom Land aka the US, you walk into a bar with a head mounted video device and OMG SHOCKING someone takes issue with it. Wow, no precedent for that! Except for...all the precedent.

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite. -- Bertrand Russell, "Skeptical Essays", 1928

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