Google Glass: five places to avoid wearing high-tech specs

Google Glass

As Google Glass finally comes to the UK, cinemas are not the only ones considering a ban

LAST UPDATED AT 13:39 ON Tue 1 Jul 2014

Google Glass has been banned in UK cinemas just a week after the gadgets finally went on sale in Britain. The spectacles, which allow the wearer to read emails, record videos and access the internet via a display positioned above the right eye, have provoked a range of concerns from copyright and privacy to safety and simple good manners. Cinema operators fear they will be used to make pirated copies of their films, although Google say the fact that the screen lights up whenever it is activated makes it "a fairly lousy device for recording things secretly". Nevertheless, cinema owners are not the only people considering bans. Here are five places to avoid wearing the high-tech specs: 

At the cinema

The Cinema Exhibitors' Association, which represents UK cinema operators, has said customers will be asked to take off Google Glass in cinema auditoriums whether the film is playing or not. The Independent points out that Google Glass batteries power down after 45 minutes of continuous recording, making it unlikely anyone could capture an entire film, but it could be used to put together multiple recordings. With the current price tag of £1,000, cinemas are unlikely to be inundated with people wearing the headsets just yet.

In the car

The Department for Transport has indicated that drivers could face a penalty for wearing Google Glass, as they do if they use a mobile phone while driving. Google has reportedly been asked to look at ways that drivers could use Glass without posing a danger on the roads, such as by restricting the information it displays while the car is moving.

In strip clubs

Several strip clubs in the US have already banned Google Glass. Peter Feinstein, managing partner of Sapphire Gentlemen's Club in Las Vegas, told NBC News that they are quick to stop people taking videos and pictures on their phone, asking them to check their phones in. He believes that Google Glass will begin to replace the mobile phone as the tool of choice for covert recording, but he says his club will enforce a zero-tolerance policy. "If they don't want to check it, we'd be happy to give them a limo ride back to their hotel," he says.

In a casino

Casinos in the US have introduced rules to stop gamblers from using high-tech specs, in case they could be used to cheat. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement issued an advisory to the industry warning that Google Glass could be used in a poker game to "broadcast a patron's hand to a confederate or otherwise used in a collusive manner".

In toilets and changing rooms

The ability to record people without their knowledge with the stroke of a finger or a voice command has prompted privacy concerns. Nick Bilton in the New York Times said the "future came crashing down" on him as he stood at a bathroom urinal at a Google I/O developer conference alongside several men wearing Google Glass. Toilets and changing rooms are unlikely to face widespread bans on the headsets, but a spread in the technology might require some tweaks to 21st-century etiquette.  · 

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.

Read more about