Google’s high-tech augmented reality “Project Glass” spectacles are still in development, and not available for purchase. But Seattle’s 5 Point Cafe is getting ahead of the game — and fueling a debate over privacy — by banning the devices from the bar in advance.

Sorry, not allowed in this bar.

The 5 Point posted this message on its Facebook page this 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.”

[FOLLOW-UP: Seattle bar that banned Google Glasses has its own surveillance cams.]

Why is the 5 Point doing this?

“I’m a thought leader,” jokes Dave Meinert, owner of the 5 Point, speaking on the Luke Burbank Show at our news partner KIRO-FM this morning. “First you have to understand the culture of the 5 Point, which is a sometimes seedy, maybe notorious place. People want to go there and be not known … and definitely don’t want to be secretly filmed or videotaped and immediately put on the Internet.”

He admits, “Part of this is a joke, to be funny on Facebook, and get reaction. But part of it’s serious, because we don’t let people film other people or take photos unwanted of people in the bar, because it is kind of a private place that people go.”

Meinert notes that the 5 Point is near Amazon, and acknowledges that “tech geeks” have been known to patronize the bar. “It’s OK if you wear them,” he says. “I just don’t want them worn inside.”

Presumably this rule would apply to Seattle’s notorious Creepy Cameraman, too.

Here’s Luke Burbank’s full interview with Meinert this morning. See KIRO Radio for more.

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  • Guest

    Kudos to the 5 Point for establishing a clear policy ahead of the fact. A lot of my social networking clients don’t understand the importance of proactivity in decision making vis-a-vis new technology.

    • quidpro

      Please. It is a joke. If they were serious they’d ban all iPhones (gasp! no hipster dive bar would EVER ban an iPhone!) and anything with a camera. They didn’t because they aren’t serious.

    • Ole

      Kudos to 5 Point for getting media attention so cheaply by talking crap about things they don’t understand and also don’t really give a damn.

  • Kevin Nelson

    The last time I was in 5 Point, instead of a urinal, they had a hole in the ground with ice in it. You definitely don’t want that Glassed.

    • JP

      How did they keep the ice cold?

  • Allen

    You’re asking the question “Are Google glasses an invasion of privacy?” and I have to answer, aren’t most things Google? What’s worse about the glasses is that the person using them accepts the (usually terrible) privacy statement, and apparently accepts it for anyone they’re around while wearing the things too.

    • themanwecalldave

      Is it an invasion of privacy if I tape a camera to my face? Wear one around my neck? Hold a cell phone up in front of me? This is the problem with people getting up in arms with incremental technology advances. It’s just a tiny camera strapped to your face.

      And this term ‘privacy statement’, I don’t think it means what you think it means.

    • Traveler_Lloyd

      You can photograph anyone who is in a public place. You can not use the photo for a commercial enterprise without the permission of the person photographed, unless it is a news item.

      A business is a private location. Any person in a private location where they are not visible from a public location can have you arrested for photographing them without their permission or the owner’s permission.

  • Raaid

    Clearly a publicity stunt to get geeks to go to that cafe.

    • dollared

      Then you haven’t been there.

  • John

    There are a number of activities that have been tradition at the 5point that should not be “glassed”. Just look the number of bras hanging from the moose’s horns.

  • dilharo

    haha….glass blocked in a bar in us, glass blocked as whole all over india

  • PlumbSearcher

    I would be very much concerned about people wearing Google Glass in a restroom. They can shoot videos without notifying other people, it looks like a glass, but it is a video camera.

    • quidpro

      You have something to hide that no one else has? Something proprietary? I’m confused.

      • Andrew Lee

        I think he is saying do you want a camera in your face soon as you get done taking a shit?

        • Andy H

          I don’t want a *person* in my face as I step out of a stall, regardless of if they are wearing glasses that have the potential to record a fully dressed me. The breach in etiquette required for Google Glass to record you is far more obvious that somebody holding a cell phone under a stall door. At least with Glass you see the person standing right in your face…

  • athlete

    Oh no! This guy is going to lose up to 4 nerdy customers over the course of the next few years! Kind of like banning 50-year-olds with fanny packs at a rave.

  • James Knauer

    What a maroon. Only the first iteration of these glasses will look like the pics we have seen. This idiot won’t be able the difference soon enough.

    Is he going to ban watches and phones?

    • Winnie Jenkems

      “maroon” LOL

  • stop the cyborgs

    If you have a bar and also want to “Google Glass is Banned Sign” you can download high resolution versions of the sign used by Seattle’s 5 Point Cafe from my blog. (Creative commons attribution non-commercial)

  • Infobahn

    So they are banning something that their client base can’t afford or would know how to use.

    • dollared

      then you haven’t been to the Five Point.

  • naysayer

    Sooo funny. This guy must be hilarious at parties.

  • Peter Kasting

    Does he ban cameras and phones too? I hope he’s at least consistent.

  • Michael Hazell

    Just because you are wearing Google Glass, that does not mean that it will constantly film unless you want it too. Of course I could be wrong but you shouldn’t go paranoid just yet.

    • lucascott

      well no, but it still has that use. And really other than taping what reason do you need to wear them indoors. You are at a bar. Disconnect with Skynet and connect with some freaking humans for little while.

      not to mention given this particular place it sounds like you dont want to have $1500 on your face to get bumped off and stepped on. folks probably dont pull out their cell phones if they can help it for similar reasons

      • Andy H

        That’s like saying other than taking videos what reason would you have to take your smartphone indoors. You’re focusing on a single function and treating it as if it’s the only or even primary purpose of the device. If privacy is the concern, I’m betting there will be far fewer uninvited upskirt videos taken with Google Glass than with handheld smartphones…

  • gary

    At some point “Google Glasses” and others like it will be indistinguishable from regular eye glasses that people need to see correctly. So what is this guy going to do? Ban everyone from from wearing glasses, even prescription eyeglasses? That will get him sued.

    • Ted_T

      Google and others like them will be forced to make their glasses readily identifiable — there will be all kinds of people up in arms about the legions of invisible spy cameras floating around

  • gbyers72

    Looks like I won’t be going there

  • Traveler_Lloyd

    Having just looked at some of the Creepy Cameraman’s videos, I have to agree with this bar owner, regardless of the level of his clientele.

  • MikeLew65

    Great post, John. Maybe the Google glasses are seen as unfair competition for the 5 Point’s own surveillance cameras?

    • MikeLew65

      Whoops! Great post, TODD. (I was wondering when you got so wordsmithy, John. ;) )

      • Michael Williamson

        If he starts posting the surveillance videos to youtube, you’d have a valid argument.

  • san rafael blue

    Forgive me for going a little bit off topic, but is no one at all worried that being seen wearing those glasses ($1K!), something that expensive in public will make you a THIEF-MAGNET? After the initial feeling of being quite impressed that this could be done, and so proud that an American Manufacturer will be introducing the product line, yes, that is my unfortunate thought. When the average non-tech savy person finds out what these can do….well I won’t predict any Michael Jordan Sneaker Riots, BUT one needs to think first, who’s likely to see me wearing these and how close are they likely to get to my face? This is the world we live in….Do you disagree with that as a concern?

    • lucascott

      there is that also.

      folks wonder why Apple might be looking at making a watch. Well how about all the reports of iphone muggings. if you can look at your wrist to see a notification, you aren’t taking your phone out in public

    • Andrew Lee

      Maybe at first but eventually they’ll be cheap enough to the point of most people owning a pair or more.

  • Robert Wampler

    whats the point I have a cell phone and take pics just as much so might as well ban cell phones in this bar as well. FYI people who are going to have these are going to be also packing a lot of money who would want to spend money at your bar sxo by saying you can’t use your tch toys in my bar means these people are not going to spend money in your back….

  • Shashank

    not making any sense as wearable tech is future -next would they stop people with smart contact lances ?

  • Sam Davis

    Watched the creepy cameraman videos. He is lucky he has not had his ass kicked yet.

  • TheDisco

    Owner of bar recently seen at bank cashing over-sized check endorsed by Steve Ballmer.

  • Joshua Slack

    Chuckle… I had a hard time taking the owner seriously once I read his “First!!!111!!!” note: ”For the record, The 5 Point is the first Seattle business to ban in advance Google Glasses.”

  • DonnyMac

    Outside of the obvious privacy concerns devices like these are creating a culture of disconnect. Events in life become an episode of drama in our own personal reality TV as if we are nothing more but spectators in life with no accountability. Case in point, recently a young college student noticed a man lying on the road. Instead of seeing if the man needed help he just snapped his picture and tweeted the experience without even calling the police. Later on it is discovered the man had been run over (before or after event?) and dies. He could have lived if that kid had a sense of empathy.

    There have been many other cases as well (bullying, etc) where people just film it and post it online all the while refusing to get involve to stop it. We have lost so much in our humanity and yet we continue to go headlong unabated down this path. Shame on us!

    We are losing our sense of reality as we embrace this behaviour of disconnect and it is becoming harmful to society and our own individual selves.

    • Kenji De Sade

      Dude, Look up Kitty Genovese. Public apathy has nothing to do with technology.

  • Commentus Maximus

    Duh. Your smartphone camera isn’t pointed in people’s faces 100 percent of the time. If it was, you’d inevitably get hostile reactions. One would be foolish to tempt fate wearing Glass in the streets and pubs of Manhattan and Silicon Valley once more of the general public understand what Google Glass does. There’s going to be a whole lot of “Take that f-ing thing off your head and out of my face” and “Are you taking pictures of me? You creepy loser…” You’re already seeing this sentiment in the comments for every article about it. Google Glass might serve some useful purposes in specialized situations, but it will not exactly make you popular with strangers.

    • Michael Williamson

      In fact, I’d endorse the ass kickings. I expect the 3rd or 4th time the nerd gets his face beat in and his glasses smashed, he’ll get the hint.

      It’s called social pressure behavior modification.

      • Christopher Swing

        And when the idiots who think kicking ass get shot enough times, well, other people will get the hint anyway.

  • BucketOfClams

    “A thought leader”? BWAHAHAHA … you’re just a moron that is looking to grab headlines.

    • KnightTime

      …and did it pretty effectively, too.

  • therealjawss

    the difference with glasses and cameraphones is that it’s easier to spot when people try to take photos of you with a cameraphone whereas with google glasses, there’s no way of knowing whether the person is taking photos/videos or not, hence the concern.

    • Hturt Seaker

      Use a spycam app and pretend you are reading. Done.

      • therealjawss

        most people don’t read with the phone perpendicular to the ground.

  • Gray

    The bar is concerned about people taking photos or video with their Google Glass or they’re concerned with those people posting those images online in a public forum? Seems the focus should be on the person who chooses to post without permission.

    • Michael Williamson

      And how do you stop that? A sign that says “Please don’t post video”?

      Hey, it works for keeping guns out of schools.

  • Andy H

    All in all I’d say this policy has fulfilled it’s intended purpose brilliantly. Free advertising. Unless the owner is truly stupid, he knows that banning this form factor of video camera while allowing other more concealable ones (can you imagine somebody trying to get a sly upskirt video/photo wearing these?) is pointless. It’s totally his right to ban them, no matter how dumb it is, but I’m guessing this policy will be really effective when it comes to what he really wants.

    If he really wanted to preserve privacy he would simply have a blanket “no cameras of any kind allowed” policy. Problem is that won’t get him headlines like “No allowed” policy does. This gets him loads of publicity, some people who will quit going because they don’t patronize places with dumb rules, and lots of new technophobic customers. Sounds like a win for him.

  • Hoborg The Great

    if they integrate the camera into ordinary eye glasses, then how’d the be able to identify that a person is using such glasses or not?!

  • Marco Agner

    This is just a device like any other. Anyone can film film or take a pic of you anytime nowadays (and probably happens all the time…); Get over it. We just have to learn how to deal with this.
    I (MYSELF) think it’s stupid to ban the Google Glasses from a bar BUT it’s totally the owner’s rights to do so and everybody is free to choose wether they want to go in their or not. I suppose things are not that complicated.

  • lucascott

    ultimately what this comes down to is that they are a private business and can set whatever dress code they like. And did. End of story.

  • Duncan Scott

    Now Google needs to develop a photo cloaking device to protect people from unwanted recordings and pics.

  • Amazed…

    This is what happens when the uneducated majority rules, technological development becomes “scary”.

  • gefundenwerden

    great article, thanks for the info

  • N0

    im a guest!

  • Guest

    No I’m a guest your N0!

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