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Seattle bar pre-emptively bans Google Glass

Categories: Science & Technology, World

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A Seattle bar has banned patrons from wearing the upcoming Google Glass wearable computers, worn here by Google co-founder Sergey Brin. (Seth Wenig/Associated Press)

A Seattle bar has pre-emptively banned Google Glass from its premises, generating mixed reactions online, but also raising questions about whether they will present a privacy concern when used in public spaces.

The 5 Point Café made its intentions clear with a post on its Facebook page last week: "For the record, The 5 Point is the first Seattle business to ban in advance Google Glasses. And ass kickings will be encouraged for violators," it said alongside a graphic of an eye adorned with the glasses, and a red cross struck through.

Google released a promotional video last month promoting Glass, a "wearable computer" attached to an eyeglasses frame that includes a small screen in one corner. 


The video shows users taking photos while hang gliding and sharing them with friends, checking map directions while riding a bicycle, and recording and sharing videos in real-time.

Google Glass isn't yet available. A contest currently running on the product's main website will allow winners to buy the product early for $1,500 US.

A Google spokesperson responded to CNET about the bar's ban, saying: "It is still very early days for Glass, and we expect that as with other new technologies, such as cell phones, behaviors and social norms will develop over time."

5 Point's post attracted hundreds of likes, shares and comments on its Facebook page. Despite some commenters being upset at the pre-emptive ban, the reaction was positive enough to warrant further statements. "If nothing else, we're saving you from looking like a complete idiot in public," the Café posted on Monday.

The bar's owner Dave Meinert told Seattle's KIRO Radio that the original post was mainly a joke, but that he has concerns about the implications of such a device being used in the public and at his bar.

"Part of this is a joke, to be funny on Facebook and get a reaction, but part of it is serious because we don't let people film other people or take photos unwanted of other people in the bar because it's kind of a private place people go," said Meinert.

"When the general public becomes aware of Google Glass and exactly what it does, expect to see a lot of reactions similar to that of the Seattle bar owner," writes ZDNet's James Kendrick, who said that the glasses could pose a problem with corporate privacy, airport security and possible recording of minors in public spaces.

"Don't be surprised when those on the sexual offenders list in most states are banned from owning/wearing Google Glasses as part of their punishment," he continues.

Are you planning on buying Google Glass when it launches? Are you concerned with possible security and privacy concerns - or is the device itself conspicuous enough to avoid these problems?



Tags: POV

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