14 votes

AMC movie theater calls “federal agents” to arrest a Google Glass user


It was such a surprising story that I asked if I could have permission to post it here on The Gadgeteer. I ended up communicating with the author of the story and have posted it here for everyone to read…

I have been using Google Glass for about 2 months now, and about 2 weeks ago I got prescription lenses for the glasses. So in the past two weeks I was wearing Google Glass all the time. There were no stories to write about, until yesterday (1/18/2014).

I went to AMC (Easton Mall, Columbus, OH) to watch a movie with my wife (non- Google Glass user). It is the theater we go to every week, so it has probably been the third time I’ve been there wearing Google Glass, and the AMC employees (guy tearing tickets at the entrance, girl at the concession stand) have asked me about Glass in the past and I have told them how awesome Glass is with every occasion.

Because I don’t want Glass to distract me during the movie, I turn them off (but since my prescription lenses are on the frame, I still wear them). About an hour into the movie (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit), a guy comes near my seat, shoves a badge that had some sort of a shield on it, yanks the Google Glass off my face and says “follow me outside immediately”. It was quite embarrassing and outside of the theater there were about 5-10 cops and mall cops. Since I didn’t catch his name in the dark of the theater, I asked to see his badge again and I asked what was the problem and I asked for my Glass back. The response was “you see all these cops you know we are legit, we are with the ‘federal service’ and you have been caught illegally taping the movie”.

I was surprised by this and as I was obviously just having a nice Saturday evening night out with my wife and not taping anything whether legally or illegally, I tried to explain that this is a misunderstanding. I tried to explain that he’s holding rather expensive hardware that costed me $1500 for Google Glass and over $600 for the prescription glasses. The response was that I was searched and more stuff was taken away from me (specifically my personal phone, my work phone – both of which were turned off, and my wallet). After an embarrassing 20-30 minutes outside the movie theater, me and my wife were conducted into two separate rooms in the “management” office of Easton Mall, where the guy with the badge introduced himself again and showed me a different ID. His partner introduced herself too and showed me a similar looking badge. I was by that time, too flustered to remember their names (as a matter of fact, now, over 30 hours later I am still shaking when recounting the facts).

What followed was over an hour of the “feds” telling me I am not under arrest, and that this is a “voluntary interview”, but if I choose not to cooperate bad things may happen to me (is it legal for authorities to threaten people like that?). I kept telling them that Glass has a USB port and not only did I allow them, I actually insist they connect to it and see that there was nothing but personal photos with my wife and my dog on it. I also insisted they look at my phone too and clear things out, but they wanted to talk first. They wanted to know who I am, where I live, where I work, how much I’m making, how many computers I have at home, why am I recording the movie, who am I going to give the recording to, why don’t I just give up the guy up the chain, ’cause they are not interested in me. Over and over and over again.

I kept telling them that I wasn’t recording anything – my Glass was off, they insisted they saw it on. I told them there would be a light coming out the little screen if Glass was on, and I could show them that, but they insisted that I cannot touch my Glass for the fear “I will erase the evidence against me that was on Glass”. I didn’t have the intuition to tell them that Glass gets really warm if it records for more than a few minutes and my glasses were not warm. They wanted to know where I got Glass and how did I came by having it. I told them I applied about 1000 times to get in the explorer program, and eventually I was selected, and I got the Glass from Google. I offered to show them receipt and Google Glass website if they would allow me to access any computer with internet. Of course, that was not an option. Then they wanted to know what does Google ask of me in exchange for Glass, how much is Google paying me, who is my boss and why am I recording the movie.

Eventually, after a long time somebody came with a laptop and an USB cable at which point he told me it was my last chance to come clean. I repeated for the hundredth time there is nothing to come clean about and this is a big misunderstanding so the FBI guy finally connected my Glass to the computer, downloaded all my personal photos and started going though them one by one (although they are dated and it was obvious there was nothing on my Glass that was from the time period they accused me of recording). Then they went through my phone, and 5 minutes later they concluded I had done nothing wrong.

I asked why didn’t they just take those five minutes at the beginning of the interrogation and they just left the room. A guy who claimed his name is Bob Hope (he gave me his business card) came in the room, and said he was with the Movie Association and they have problems with piracy at that specific theater and that specific movie. He gave me two free movie passes “so I can see the movie again”. I asked if they thought my Google Glass was such a big piracy machine, why didn’t they ask me not to wear them in the theater? I would have probably sat five or six rows closer to the screen (as I didn’t have any other pair of prescription glasses with me) and none of this would have happened. All he said was AMC called him, and he called the FBI and “here are two more passes for my troubles”. I would have been fine with “I’m sorry this happened, please accept our apologies”. Four free passes just infuriated me.

Considering it was 11:27pm when this happened, and the movie started at 7.45, I guess 3 and a half hours of my time and the scare my wife went through (who didn’t know what was going on as nobody bothered to tell her) is worth about 30 bucks in the eyes of the Movie Association and the federal militia (sorry, I cannot think of other derogatory words). I think I should sue them for this, but I don’t have the time or the energy to deal with “who is my boss – they don’t want me, they want the big guy” again, so I just spilled the beans on this forum, for other to learn from my experience.


Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Law enforcement and

Law enforcement and Government in general doesn't like when random citizens record things. It makes it harder to railroad people in courts afterwards if there is actual footage of an incident.

So anyone using Google Glass can expect to be bullied and harassed whenever it can be done with a "reasonable cause". And yes, law enforcement is not happy that just wearing something like that isn't grounds for it. But hey, do it in the movies and those Hollywood-lobbied antipiracy laws give them perfect justification...

The Columbus Dispatch

The Columbus Dispatch confirmed the story with the Department of Homeland Security. The ICE and not the FBI detained the Glass wearer, and there happened to be an MPAA task force at the theater that night, who then escalated the incident.

AMC should be more concerned about a patron recording

what goes on inside the concession stand.

SteveMT's picture

Sorry about what happened. The world is going crazy.

Watch whatever new or old movie you want to at website below....any tv program also. Make some popcorn, cook a steak, save some money, and enjoy.

Mark Twain arrested. Twice! Law faltered, hesitated, quailed...

MARK TWAIN OVERAWES MARINES ~ Minions of Government Quail as They Attempt His Arrest. ANNAPOLIS, May 11, 1907.

The New York Times, May 12, 1907 ~ Special to The New York Times, by Mark Twain.

"Yes, with an air of conscious importance,
"I have been arrested. I was arrested twice, so that there could be no doubt about it. I have lived many years in the sight of my country an apparently uncaught and blameless life, a model for the young, an inspiring example for the hoary-headed. But at last the law has laid its hand upon me."

"Mine was no ordinary offense. When I affront the law I choose to do so in no obscure, insignificant, trivial manner. Mine was a crime against nothing less than the federal government. The officers who arrested me were no common, or garden, policemen; they were clothed with the authority of the federal Constitution. I was charged with smoking a cigar within a government reservation. In fact, I was caught red-handed. I came near setting a stone pile on fire."

"It is true that the arrest was not made effective. One of the party whispered to the marines what Governor Warfield was going to say, and did say, in introducing me to the audience at my lecture - that I was one of the greatest men in the world. I don't know who proposed to tell that to the marines, but it worked like a charm. The minions of the law faltered, hesitated, quailed, and today I am a free man. Twice they laid hands upon me; twice were overcome by my deserved reputation."

"Perhaps I ought not to say myself that it is deserved. But who am I, to contradict the governor of Maryland? Worm that I am, by what right should I traverse the declared opinion of that man of wisdom and judgment whom I have learned to admire and trust?"

Disclaimer: Mark Twain (1835-1910-To be continued) is unlicensed. His river pilot's license went delinquent in 1862. Caution advised. Daily Paul

Nazi stazi strikes again

How bold these criminals are to usurp an individuals freedome. How bold.

Need to file individual lawsuits against each and every person who kidnapped you.



Lawsuits plus actual criminal charges. And name names. Swear out warrants for the badged thugs, their supervisors, their bosses, and so on all the way up to the freakin' President. That this kind of thing goes on in my country makes me physically ill.

Freedom is my Worship Word!

i would call a lawyer.

I would sue simply for the fact that they lied to you in a federal investigation.

I use Blue Wave, but don't expect one of THEIR silly taglines.

if this is how it really happened then....

this country is so far gone and it will never return you can't change these kind of people, they're set in there ways and It will be extremely hard to change their views, these people are probably good people when it comes to their friends but when it comes to everybody else we are all dogsh*t, this country will not return, we will have to recreate it and when the revolution comes these control freaks will cower in fear.


The answer is NOT a Revolution! What we need to do is to reinstate the Constitution; kind of a non-volution or un-volution. Or my favorite, not an in-surrection, but a re-surrection. (pun unintentional but I like it so much I'm claiming credit for it!)

Freedom is my Worship Word!