UK cinema chains to ban Google Glass use outright

30 Jun 2014

Google Glass smartglasses

A mere week after Google Glass’ release in the UK, the UK cinema industry is to ban the smartglasses outright over piracy fears.

The issue of smartglasses and wearing them in cinemas has been a hot-button topic for cinema chains, particularly in the US. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security interrogated a cinema-goer who had been wearing the glasses as part of Google’s early Google Glass Explorer programme. The cinema had wrongly reported him for recording a film.

Now, UK cinemas are taking action after the highly anticipated wearable tech device made its first appearance on the UK market for stg£1,000.

Phil Clapp, chief executive of the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association, told The Independent that customers will be requested not to wear (the smartglasses) into cinema auditoriums, whether the film is playing or not.

The obvious challenge to this mode of thinking is that Google Glass is programmed to shut off after 45 minutes of continuous recording, which would be highly unlikely to incorporate an entire film.

According to a Google spokesperson, the company is asking customers to treat Glass like they would a mobile phone.

“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. Broadly speaking, we also think it’s best to have direct and first-hand experience with Glass before creating policies around it. The fact that Glass is worn above the eyes and the screen lights up whenever it’s activated makes it a fairly lousy device for recording things secretly.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic