Google Glass has only been out for a week, and it is already banned in the UK cinemas. There are now questions over whether other countries will follow suit once they get their hands on the device. There are also questions over whether the wearable technology can be used while driving, which has come up as an issue in the United States.
According to the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association (CEA), customers will be asked to remove the device even if the movie is not yet playing. The association represents around 90 percent of the operators within the United Kingdom, which will mean the biggest ones around the country will have this ban. Customers will not be allowed to enter the auditoriums if they are wearing Google Glass, and may be asked to leave if they are found with it on later on.
The issue is that the device has the ability to record. There is concern that the device can be used to make pirate copies of movies, and then streamed online. This has been a concern for a number of years, with all recording equipment being confiscated if it is found. Concerns surrounding the privacy of customers are also stated reasons for the ban. The issue is that it will be much harder to tell when someone is record with Glass than if they were using their cellphone.
According to the head of the CEA, Phil Clapp, the move is more of a precaution. He would like the cinemas to be a step ahead of the problems now that Google has announced the availability of Glass in the UK. However, the banning of Google Glass in UK cinemas could just be the first step.
Some people have spoken out against the ban. Google has created prescription versions of the wearable technology, meaning that people can replace their usual glasses with the device. This could lead to issues for those who go to the movies. They will need to remember to carry their own glasses with them to be able to see the movie. Vue, which is under the CEA, has stated that people will only be asked to remove the devices once the movie has started, and the policy will remain under review.
The United Kingdom is the first country to ban Google Glass. Granted, it is also only the second country to get access to the technology. So far, it has only been available in the United States, where the ban is not yet in place. However, the theaters would rather not see people with the wearable technology on. There has already been one story from Ohio of a man being removed from a theater and questioned by Homeland Security because he wore his Glass.
Google has spoken out against the decision. It states that people can turn off the device, and it is not unreasonable for cinema officials to request that people do this. It also states that the recording equipment will be poor quality for recording movies, due to the light streaming back at the device. However, the CEA is not yet budging on its decision. Google Glass is officially banned in the majority of UK cinemas.
By Alexandria Ingham