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If you see something, say something. That’s what the federal government wants you to do when it comes to possible terrorist activities, and that’s what the studios want theater owners to do when it comes to possible piracy activities. In theory, such proactive behavior can stop shady business in progress. In practice, however, it can lead to Department Of Homeland Security agents escorting an unfortunate Ohio resident out of a Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit screening for doing nothing more than wearing Google Glass.
The colossal fuck-up in question happened at an AMC in Columbus, Ohio. The random dude, who later reached out to Gadgeteer, was about an hour into the 7:45 screening alongside his wife when a man with a badge appeared out of nowhere and asked he leave the theater. Outside, a further half dozen or so authority figures appeared and accused him of illegally filming the movie via Google Glass. He was allegedly taken into a back room and questioned for several hours, despite his repeated pleas that he did nothing wrong.
Here’s a portion of the statement he later gave about the incident…
"I kept telling them that Glass has a USB port and not only did I allow them, I actually insist they connect to it and see that there was nothing but personal photos with my wife and my dog on it. I also insisted they look at my phone too and clear things out, but they wanted to talk first. They wanted to know who I am, where I live, where I work, how much I’m making, how many computers I have at home, why am I recording the movie, who am I going to give the recording to, why don’t I just give up the guy up the chain, ’cause they are not interested in me. Over and over and over again."
Eventually, someone came in with a computer and actually went through everything stored on the Google Glass and discovered there was nothing incriminating saved. The man explained he kept the glasses on because they were actually prescription, but the Google Glass portion of his bifocals were turned off during the film---because he hasn’t been, nor will he ever be a pirate. As an apology, the lead agent reportedly secured the man four free movie passes, but he wasn’t exactly in a forgiving mood and later took to the Internet to complain about everything that happened, even going so far as to say he "should sue" but won’t.
Given the local theater chain called the MPAA and the MPAA called the Department of Homeland Security, the agents obviously needed to pull the guy out of the theater and question him. That’s not a sue-able offense. Authorities have the right to voluntarily question people, but even so, it would have been in everyone’s best interests for the agents to take a few deep breaths and look over what was actually on the Google Glass before firing off aggressive questions for a few hours.
There’s no word on whether the first hour of Jack Ryan was good enough to inspire the man to use one of his passes on seeing it again, but if that information becomes available, I will bring it to you.