A Hilliard man’s trip to the movies on Saturday night was cut short because of his eyewear: Google Glass.
The 35-year-old Glass wearer said he was yanked out of a showing of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit at the AMC Theater at Easton Town Center by two Homeland Security agents who thought he might be making a bootleg copy.
He said he was questioned for two hours on the suspicion that he was recording the movie on Google Glass, a wearable, voice-activated computer that features a thumbnail-size transparent display above the right eye.
In retrospect, he said in an interview with The Dispatch yesterday, “I realize it’s stupid to have a device with a camera pointed at the screen. But I didn’t even think of it, because I don’t use Google Glass to record other people."
The man, who first shared his experience with technology blog, The Gadgeteer, asked that his name not be used because he is interviewing for a new job. He had added prescription lenses to the computer-in-eyeglass device a few weeks ago, he said. He wears the lenses all the time and had worn them to the Easton theater before without being questioned.
On Saturday, however, about an hour into the show, someone official-looking flashed a badge and told him to come along, he said. He was questioned by the agents, a man and a woman, in a downstairs office.
He said he was asked who he was working for and how many computers he had at home. They took his work and personal cellphones and wallet and asked why he was recording the movie.
“I said, ‘Want me to prove I’m not recording the movie? It’s very easy,’” he said. He pointed out the USB port on Glass where the device can be plugged into a computer for review.
He told the agents, “There’s nothing but pictures of my wife and my dog on it.”
He said he was able to leave after 11 p.m. when his questioners finally plugged the device into a computer and saw nothing of interest.
Khaalid Walls, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, confirmed in an email yesterday that special agents with the agency’s Homeland Security Investigations “briefly interviewed a man suspected of using an electronic recording device to record a film.”
ICE Homeland Security Investigations is responsible, in part, for combating piracy and counterfeit goods.
The Hilliard man said he has had Glass since November as part of Google’s Explorer program. About 30,000 people have been testing the technology before it becomes widely available this year.
He said he paid $1,500 for the device and $600 more for prescription lenses.