The news: Over the weekend, federal Homeland Security officials and police pulled a man out of a movie theater and detained him for hours for one simple reason: he was wearing Google Glass.
Tiberiu Ungureanu was watching Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit with his wife when he was approached by someone with a badge who pulled him out of the theater and into the hall, where a group of police and Homeland Security officials were waiting. According to Ungureanu, his glasses were removed and he was told that he had "been caught illegally taping the movie."
Ungureanu's Google Glass was turned off, but he was wearing his glasses during the film because the lenses are prescription – he said he tried explaining that to the law enforcement officials that detained him but was asked repeatedly about recording the film. Eventually officials confirmed that Ungureanu did not record the film, and he was let go.
This is what happens when law enforcement comes up against brand new technology: Things get fuzzy.
A spokesman for AMC theaters – where Ungureanu was watching the movie – said: "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 theater."
But in an email, offcials from the Motion Picture Association of America told the Washington Post: "Google Glass is an incredible innovation in the mobile sphere, and we have no proof that it is currently a significant threat that could result in content theft."
No one's quite sure what to do with this new technology. One side says its fine, the other says no. Yes, Google Glass does have the capability to covertly record a film, but Ungureanu needs his glasses to actually watch the movie, too. So where do we draw the line?
This isn't the first time Google Glass has gotten its users in trouble with the law, and it probably won't be the last. Cecilia Abadie was given a traffic ticket for wearing Google Glass while driving, but the charge was thrown out because there was no way to prove the device was turned on while she was driving.
That's the thing about Google Glass – the technology is so personal at this point, literally right on the users face, that it's hard to determine if its actually being used or not. This ambiguity leads to traffic tickets and 4-hour-long detainments by Homeland Security.
Law enforcement has to play catch up with cutting edge technology -- and until it does, things are going to remain up in the air.