VIDEO: Here’s what customers think of a Seattle bar banning Google Glasses

5 Point Cafe.

An otherwise quiet Sunday morning outside Seattle’s 5 Point Cafe, unlikely epicenter of a debate over high-tech privacy.

If you haven’t heard yet, Seattle’s 5 Point Cafe is one of the first establishments to declare a ban on Google Glasses to prevent its patrons from being recorded by the high-tech glasses (but also as a bit of a joke, the bar’s owner admits).

Google’s high-tech augmented reality “Project Glass” spectacles are still in development and not available for purchase by the general public. But the bar’s pre-emptive ban, announced on its Facebook page this past week, has been getting national attention, and fueling a debate over privacy.

I ventured over to 5 Point Sunday morning to get my brunch on. While there, I noticed the already-installed surveillance cameras and also chatted with my server about the ban.

After grubbing, I hung around outside the restaurant and wanted to see what the patrons thought about this ban. The answers varied — some liked how 5 Point was protecting privacy, while others thought the ban was lame. We’ve posted some of the answers in written form below, and you can check out what people had to say in the video above.

5pointmug1On 5 Point’s ban: “I think everything is filmed. Everyone is on cameras, constantly. So I mean, who cares, right?

I wouldn’t never say anything that 5 Point did was stupid — I love the 5 Point — but perhaps they are trying to make a point about privacy.”

— Giles Stanton

5Pointmug2On 5 Point’s ban: “I think you’ll find that people will always have a thing where they don’t like technology just as a whole and are afraid to take that next step froward. I mean it’s kind of disappointing that some places will ban technology going forward, but at the same time I get the privacy issues. It’s kind of like a double-edged sword. I think most people will just have a reaction to hold back from technology for a little bit.

It’s a little bothersome, but I think with time people will get used to idea and warm up to it. It’s one of those things where you’ll see the glasses eventually.”

On surveillance cameras vs. Google Glass: “We’re talking about a private user versus an establishment, and [5 Point] is trying to protect themselves for lawsuits, etc. It gets into the private issue because [the security cameras] are just for their use. I can see it both ways.”

— Charles Foster

5pointmug8On 5 Point’s ban: “It doesn’t bother me at all. Everybody has a video camera on the phone, so what’s the difference? Google Glasses are more discrete, but you can already act like you’re on your smartphone and take a video of anyone you want to. It’s a free country, do what you want. I think the ban is kind of lame. I think for them, they just don’t want to be on Yelp or something screwing up.”

— Steve Bews 

5Pointmug3On 5 Point’s ban: “I don’t know much about Google Glass. But I don’t think it’s anything different than a camera on a smartphone. It’s a little bit weird, but it’s a private establishment so they can ban whatever they wish.”

On surveillance overall: “I don’t really have a problem with it. I don’t really do anything that would make me concerned about being filmed.”

— Alex Morawski 

5pointmug6On 5 Point’s ban: “It’s a private business and they can set whatever rules they want. There’s also the consideration that maybe we have too much technology at our fingertips and we invade other people’s lives on a daily basis without even thinking about it. I understand it’s a great technology and everything, but it’s subject to abuse just like any other technology we have.

You have to draw the line somewhere. [Google Glasses] might be a little more discrete, but it’s still rude to take video of somebody without their knowledge anyway. Maybe [5 Point] can tell somebody to stop if they don’t want that to happen. But you have to draw the line somewhere.”

If we don’t set our own limits, no one will set them for us.”

On surveillance cameras vs. Google Glass: “Surveillance cameras are there for my protection. I don’t know what others are using their own cameras for. We have clear benefit from surveillance cameras — in court cases, business records. It’s not something that someone can take home and do what they want with it.”

— Jeremy Tucker 

5pointmug7On 5 Point’s ban: ”It’s not weird. I think it’s great that there are places that want to stem the tide of unlimited access to anybody’s information anytime. So, yeah, it’s fine.

I feel like it’s OK for them to make rules against doing that, especially because it’s a private establishment so they can make their own rules. There are plenty of places you can go with your Google Glasses, so I think it’s OK.”

On surveillance cameras vs. Google Glass: “I would rather not have a surveillance cameras either. I don’t like looking at those at all. So, yeah, it is sort of hypocritical that they would allow the cameras and not the Glasses, although the cameras probably aren’t connected to the internet — well, maybe they are, actually. If they’re not, there’s a difference because it’s just for their private use for security reasons and Google Glasses are sort of more for unlimited access to the internet.

On surveillance overalI: “I feel like there’s a generational difference. People who have grown up with smartphones since they were little, they just take it for granted that everybody knows everything about you all the time. This idea when people say, “as long as you aren’t doing anything wrong, there’s no problem with everybody knowing what you’re doing” — I feel like they don’t really know enough about history about what that really means.

You could be doing some things that are just and right, but the government doesn’t want to let you do it. If they are spying on you all the time, then they won’t let you do it. I think it has a chilling effect on freedom. That’s sort of a cliche, but I really think it does. Even when I see a video camera and I’m not even doing anything wrong, I still get nervous. It’s going to become more of a problem as time goes on and everything becomes more and more public.”

— Doran Nugent

  • Mike 0rtloff

    There’s THOUSANDS – if not more – behaviors that may be innocent and legal NOW, but what about tomorrow? Such monitoring would be a law-enforcement bonanza. Being gay was illegal once, would gay rights (for example) gotten as far as they have if every gay bar, every club, every bathhouse or courtroom, was continuously monitored & archived for public viewing 24/7? What about the floor of stock, mercantile or auction houses? Mosques, churches, public pools? If we are indeed surrendering any semblance of privacy to the corporations (who would find a way to make money off such monitoring) do we then compensate such corporations when legislation destroys their (albeit new) industry? Jeez, man, police scanners aren’t even legal everywhere, SOME organizations seem to NEED 24/7/365 privacy, how would the Catholic Church have even survived with Google Glasses in the pews? Try wandering around the Celebrity Center with clandestine video surveillance gear…