Google Glass banned in cinemas

Congleton Guardian: Google Glass has been banned in some cinemas Google Glass has been banned in some cinemas

Google Glass may have launched in the UK, but not everyone is happy to see the device go on sale, with some UK cinemas banning the headset during screenings over fears wearers could illegally record movies.

The Cinema Exhibitors Association (CEA), which is responsible for around 90% of the cinemas in the UK, has said that it will ask customers not to wear the device at all in auditoriums.

Google Glass only went on sale in the UK last week and is still a prototype product, but has been available in the United States for more than a year.

Chief executive of the CEA Phil Clapp told The Independent: "Customers will be requested not to wear these into cinema auditoriums, whether the film is playing or not."

Vue, one of the largest cinema chains in the UK also said it would ask users to remove Glass "as soon as the lights dim".

A Google spokesman responded by saying that some of the problems may be related to a lack of understanding about Glass.

"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," a Google spokesman said.

"Broadly speaking, we also think it's best to have direct and first hand experience with Glass before creating policies around it."

The news comes following a similar move by an independent cinema operator in the US, and an incident in Ohio where a man was interrogated by US Homeland Security after wearing the headset into a film showing. His headset was switched off at the time and he was using the prescription lenses. He was released after questioning.

The cinema, AMC, said of the incident: "Movie theft is something we take very seriously, and our theatre managers contact the Motion Picture Association of America any time it's suspected that someone may be illegally recording content on screen. While we're huge fans of technology and innovation, wearing a device that has the capability to record video is not appropriate at the movie theatre."

The technology giant also pointed out that as Glass is worn over the eyes and lights up when activated, it would not be the most subtle device to try and use while in a cinema.

Glass is the latest piece of hardware from technology giant Google that enables users to read messages, make calls and take photos and video using the eyepiece that projects a small screen into the user's peripheral vision. The device is still regarded as being in "beta", meaning that it is not yet a finished product, but consumers in the UK can now buy the headset for £1,000.

Similar in appearance to a pair of glasses, it syncs with the user's mobile phone so all notifications appear on the small screen within the headset. Apps are also being steadily introduced to Glass, with The Guardian and sky-gazing app StarChart launching last week at the UK unveiling. The astronomy app lets users see the constellations mapped out before their eyes when they look up.

Mr Clapp added: "The UK cinema industry position on wearable technology capable of recording images is that customers are requested not to wear these into cinema auditorium, regardless of whether the film is playing or not. This position is driven by concerns around customer privacy as well as film theft.

"While our position on mobile phones is that we ask people to put these away when the film is playing, with wearable technology - whether Google Glass or otherwise - we believe that it is generally more difficult to detect when they are and are not recording, so our approach is a precautionary one."

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