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Crime Input Devices Technology

Woman Attacked In San Francisco Bar For Wearing Google Glass 921

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.

  • 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.

  • by Optimal Cynic ( 2886377 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:13AM (#46357227)
    Assuming your device survives the experience.
  • 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 jythie ( 914043 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:15AM (#46357255)
    Not really. Buying into fear and hype is not the same thing as understanding something. In fact it is kinda the opposite.
  • 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.

  • Re:Nothing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jythie ( 914043 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:17AM (#46357297)
    Personally I feel that people who will physically assault a person for being part of a group they are not are much bigger pretentious assholes then someone who is minding their own business with their friends.

    I find the detractors far more pretentious then the people who have google glass.
  • by JavaBear ( 9872 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:18AM (#46357309)

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

  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:19AM (#46357329)

    A $3.99 balaclava from the Dollar Store can easily take care of any identifying info. Of course, if push comes to shove (literally), a good attacker will just shove the victim's face in the wall, so the glasses get a good view of the bricks, then the concrete...

    This isn't something completely new... it is just blowback from being recorded 24/7, and now people want to wear headcams to add more insult to injury. I wouldn't be surprised to see more incidents of this happening, be it reactionary protests, or just to snarf something worth $1500... and $1500 buys a lot of meth in most of the US.

  • by torchdragon ( 816357 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:19AM (#46357333) Homepage

    Its a good thing you're apologizing for the thuggish behavior of the aggressors. I'll make sure that you compensate me for any injuries I receive when I'm robbing your house.

  • Re:All Positive (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:24AM (#46357413)

    This is because he was on a cruise with people that can afford to be on a cruise. The lady in the story was in a bar along with all the poor drunk people who can only find entertainment in bars.

  • 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 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 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:28AM (#46357471)

    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 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 Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:30AM (#46357515)

    I understand that I don't want to have my every interaction with a glasshole uploaded to Google for indexing.

  • Re: Rejects (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:31AM (#46357523)

    Yeah, this is just click bait for googles new spy device. As if they don't have enough data on everybody already.

  • by jythie ( 914043 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:31AM (#46357527)
    That only happens with the devices made of straw.
  • 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 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.
  • by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:39AM (#46357631)

    Wearing a short skirt isn't an invasion of other people's privacy. Pointing a camera at them is. If people make it clear they don't want a recording device pointing at them, and you persist, then you do indeed bear some responsibility if it results in a bad outcome for you.

  • Re:LED (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:42AM (#46357673)

    No it doesn't. Read the spec. Watch YouTube, whatever. There is no recording indicator LED on Google Glass. Nor has there been on camcorders for the last decade or so.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:42AM (#46357677)

    Exactly, every parent recording their kids at Disneyland should have to go and make every single other patron in the park sign a consent form, just in case they walk by in the background. I don't totally get some of the crazy responses to Glass. If that same chick had been holding an actual video camera, no one would have said shit. Hell, I bet that at the same time this happened, there was at least one other person in that bar openly recording video with their cell phone.

  • by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:42AM (#46357689) Homepage Journal

    Yea, nobody's ever taken a photo or a video in a bar before with a phone.

    Sure they have. And sometimes they get attacked. Happens all the time. But since it is not google glass, it doesn't make it to slashdot. People don't like to be recorded without their permission. It doesn't matter if it is google glass. This article attempts to make it sound like google glass users are a group that is discriminated against. That is not the case.

  • by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:48AM (#46357799)

    Yes! Now imagine if she had been wearing a short skirt as well, then those guys wouldn't just be justified in assaulting her, they could also rape her! </sarcasm>

    There is a difference:
    Wearing a short skirt is something that you do to yourself
    Filming is what you do to other people

  • 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 thaylin ( 555395 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:49AM (#46357831)
    So if I walk into a bar and take my cell phone out of my pocket to show a friendl I should expect people to object? She was not in thier face according to the article, she was showing people how it works.
  • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:59AM (#46358001)

    Out in the open in a public place, such as a sidewalk, bar, or a grocery store - there isn't an expectation of privacy.

    Apparently there is, even if the law doesn't currently recognise it. Maybe that law is out of date and should be changed.

  • Re:Rejects (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Stewie241 ( 1035724 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @12:00PM (#46358011)

    Ah ha... so if I'm out at a bar, and somebody has their smartphone out and is say, checking their email, then I can object and have reasonable expectation that they put the smartphone away in their pocket or leave the bar?

    It reminds my of an acquaintance of mine who wrote about his glass experience, saying that he was out at a street festival and was confronted by a street performer who was worried he was recording the show. The response was 'no, I'm not, but there are three or four other people around here with smartphones who are' and he pointed them out.

    Obviously, seeing people wearing Google glass the first few times can be off putting (presumably), but I've heard people say more than once that they were pretending to do something on their phone but were actually taking video.

    I think it's too late really to do much about this - people already have easy access to video cameras that are commonly carried around in public and give little to no indication that they are recording. The glass is just one more way to do it.

  • Re:not in use? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NeverVotedBush ( 1041088 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @12:16PM (#46358243)
    That you have to try to explain all that reveals the problem. Anyone reading your original comment would take "light" to mean little red LED - not the light in the viewfinder of a reverse image that also would be tiny and not especially visible.

    When the Google Glass is on and displaying something to the wearer, there will also be a "light" in the eyepiece. How is someone to know without getting in your face and eavesdropping on what you are doing? See the issue? Someone has to get in your face to tell if you are surreptitiously recording them or not.

    It is a recipe for fights and altercations. Google Glass wearers should understand that just wearing them is going to piss some people off in quite a few situations. Add alcohol to the mix and they ought to be prepared for whatever happens.

    Someone pointing a phone at someone is at least a bit more obvious and if you do it to the wrong person the same thing is going to happen. It's easy to understand why people would react this way for most people. Apparently not for "glassholes", though.
  • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @12:18PM (#46358277)

    I think you are missing the difference so I'll try to explain.

    Looking at a cell phone is not offensive.
    Obviously showing the screen to a friend is not offensive.

    Holding the camera up pointing at the room with the screen towards you would be offensive whether or not you were filming.

    Glass is the equivalent of walking around holding your cell phone up in filming position... all the time. You may not be recording but nothing stops you from quickly flipping into recording mode or taking pictures.

    These people are trying to relax. Some of them may be having affairs while they "work late at the office".

    Some of them may be criminal types, meeting in the bar for business.

    And you are walking around holding a camera up, ready to start taking pictures of them at any instant.

  • by gnick ( 1211984 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @12:19PM (#46358295) Homepage

    I never meant to imply that it was OK for somebody to object, just that it shouldn't come as a shock if some people do. This is new enough that people who are vaguely familiar with it are uncomfortable. And pulling out your cell phone to make a call looks pretty innocuous to a bystander. Wearing Google Glass and facing a person could be interpreted (for better or worse) like taking out your cell phone/camera and aiming it at somebody. Probably innocent, not illegal, but possibly awkward.

    Imagine chatting with somebody about sports/weather/whatever when you notice a mic sticking out of the top of their shirt. "Wait, are you wearing a wire???" "Yeah, but it's off and I wear it all the time because it comes in handy and I think it's neat." It's OK, but a little weird. Google Glass is even beyond that - Instead of just a wire, it's like having a shoulder-mounted camera pointed at you. Still "fine", but even weirder.

  • by Brian ( 2887359 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @01:12PM (#46359139)
    or just stop cheating on your wife. options, options
  • 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 LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @01:38PM (#46359559) Homepage Journal

    "Apparently there is, even if the law doesn't currently recognise it. Maybe that law is out of date and should be changed."
    Only if your an idiot.
    Let me teach you a few key terms to help you.
    Public place.
    Public property.
    Out in Public.

    What idiot thinks he is private on a sidewalk, a bar, or a grocery store!

  • Re:Rejects (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nitehawk214 ( 222219 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @01:39PM (#46359567)

    If the person was "checking their email" in such a way that always pointed the camera in your direction... yes. How do you know they are not recording? If they cant manage to aim the thing in a direction that does not offend anybody, they should put the thing away.

    The fact that you kind of have to have the camera pointed at people constantly, regardless if it is recording or not, is the whole problem with Glass.

  • by SvnLyrBrto ( 62138 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @01:56PM (#46359803)

    Personally, I'm going to take a fair bit of delight once Glass or it's successor is built into prescription frames & lenses, some Luddite ogre of a bar manager kicks someone wearing them out, and the patron's vision turns out to have been bad enough to bring the ADA into play.

    Maybe after that happens a few times, the anti-technology brigade will get the clue that "nerds get out" just doesn't fly anymore.

  • by noh8rz10 ( 2716597 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @01:56PM (#46359819)

    Ok let's flip this. You're In a bar, snapping photos with your friends. Some guys comes up and asks you to stop taking photos or to take them outside. How would you respond?

    1) sorry about that, np. :puts phone in pocket:
    2) no, not only will I keep taking photos, but now I will take photos of you and upload them to the internet!

    If you choose number 2, then you are a douchebag and shouldn't be surprised when you get a punch in the mouth.

  • by noh8rz10 ( 2716597 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @02:08PM (#46359999)

    You're telling me for realsies that you hold your phone at a 90 degree angle right in front of your face? Cuz most people hold their phones like they're holding a book. This would point the. Camera at peoples feet. I say it again, your either lying or your holding it wrong.

  • 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.
  • Re:not in use? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Adrian Lopez ( 2615 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @02:23PM (#46360237) Homepage

    Sadly, the law in most areas says no expectation of privacy in public places which includes at a bar.

    Why "sadly"? You're out where anyone can see you. This includes artificial eyes like camera lenses and sensors. The "reasonable expectation of privacy" doctrine is a strength, not a fault.

  • 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.

  • Re:not in use? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zieroh ( 307208 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @03:42PM (#46361215)

    Who said LED? There is a light, as you stated. When you use glass the light on the display will go off if you dont use it for a brief period of time. In addition I have to stare at what I want to record, both of those things would be very telling. Now I can do the exact same recording with my cell phone and you would have absolutely ZERO idea I am doing it.

    And this is why we hate glassholes.

  • Re:Rejects (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zieroh ( 307208 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @03:44PM (#46361235)

    Ah ha... so if I'm out at a bar, and somebody has their smartphone out and is say, checking their email, then I can object and have reasonable expectation that they put the smartphone away in their pocket or leave the bar?

    You're being deliberately stupid in order to make a very dumb point. People using their smartphones rarely hold it at an angle that would put people's faces in frame unless they're taking a picture (or video).

    Knock off the false equivalence. Nobody is buying.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson