Privacy is alive! Seattle eatery tells Google Glass user where to stick his spectacles...

Filed Under: Featured, Google, Privacy

If you follow technology gossip, you probably saw the fuss kicked up last week by a Seattle resident called Nick Starr, who went into a local 24-hour diner wearing Google Glasses.

Those, in case you missed them, are the creepy streaming-video spectacles from Google that seem to have little practical purpose other than to intrude unrelentingly into the privacy of everyone who comes within eyeshot.

Indeed, the device (which is a nightmare of cardinality to start with, because spectacles are one of those curiously plural English singular nouns, while computers are not) has already spurred the amusingly apposite epithet glasshole.

That word describes those whose self-awarded sense of entitlement to wear their Glasses when out and about greatly exceeds the sense of discomfort and distrust those same Glasses provoke in the people around them.

Anyway, according to reports, Starr not only took exception to the diner's laudable insistence that he take his Glasses off - for the sake of everyone else, and because, hey, the restaurant isn't a public place - but went on a glassholic rant on Facebook to urge that the staff member who told him where to go should be sacked.

Starr apparently also ranted that the diner had lost business as a result of its killjoy attitude, because he had now shelved his plans to go there with his partner for Thanksgiving - glassed up, one assumes, so as not to miss a minute of his own self-importance.

We say "according to" and "apparently" because Mr Starr's Facebook post, to which many stories direct us to learn about his outspoken views on privacy and why we need a lack of it, is not public.

You'll have to log in to read it:

The Lost Lake Cafe and Lounge, Open 24 Hours, on the other hand, is not so coy about its opinion of glassholitude, and has served public notice on Starr and his ilk to show them where to stick their spectacles:

We recently had to ask a rude customer to leave because of their insistence on wearing and operating Google Glasses inside the restaurant. So for the record, here's Our Official Policy on Google Glass:

We kindly ask our customers to refrain from wearing and operating Google Glasses inside Lost Lake. We also ask that you not videotape anyone using any other sort of technology. If you do wear your Google Glasses inside, or film or photograph people without their permission, you will be asked to stop, or leave. And if we ask you to leave, for God's sake, don't start yelling about your "rights". Just shut up and get out before you make things worse.

We imagine that this sort of showdown will become ever more prevalent as always-on recording devices create a digital divide between those who dismiss privacy as outmoded in the 21st century, and those who feel strongly that it should be respected as part of civil society.

So, expect an ongoing argument between the privacy deniers, like Scott McNealy, then CEO of then-company Sun Micrososystems, who famously said, "You have zero privacy...Get over it," and Eric Schmidt, then CEO of Google, who respected privacy so much that he banned CNET reporters from Google for 12 months for publishing information about him that they had found using his company's search engine.

(Indeed, that's the same Google that makes the Glasses.)

In the meantime, our guts are telling us that the Lost Lake Cafe and Lounge, Open 24 Hours, stands to gain much more in the way of publicity and business from unashamedly saying "No" to glassholes than it would from Google Glass users who might otherwise drop in to film themselves eating, say, Blackened Northwest Salmon, grilled with lemon and topped with fresh dill, served with seasonal vegetables and simple green salad, $13.00.

And if you don't like it (the ban on Google Glasses, not the Blackened Northwest Salmon), then, in the words of Lost Lake Cafe and Lounge, Open 24 Hours, Capitol Hill, 1505 Tenth Avenue, Seattle WA, "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone."

Still, it wouldn't hurt for Lost Lake to put some decent coffees on the menu - espressos and ristrettos, for instance.

Maybe it's just that I speak British English, but "drip" as an adjective for anything - especially coffee - doesn't make me want to consume it.

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66 Responses to Privacy is alive! Seattle eatery tells Google Glass user where to stick his spectacles...

  1. Ron · 287 days ago

    Bravo to all involved... except the glasshole of course.

  2. Can someone create a database of "glasshole" free establishments? Perhaps the data then might be mapped ...?

  3. amkaplan · 287 days ago

    In response to your parting shot:

    "Still, it wouldn't hurt for Lost Lake to put some decent coffees on the menu - espressos and ristrettos, for instance."

    Here in Seattle, nearly every restaurant has an espresso machine, and there are so many coffee variations, it's a waste of time to put them on a menu.

    And yes, it is your British English - "drip" coffee is nomenclature for any coffee made with water flowing through grounds and a filter.

    • Paul Ducklin · 287 days ago

      Are you suggesting that "drip" and "flow" are synonyms in American English? (My American English dictionary has drip meaning "small drop of liquid" or "weak and ineffectual.")

      • Wilford Fatuous · 286 days ago

        While the water "flows" into the grinds, it then has to seep its way thru that semi-porous material and "drip" out the bottom, and the amount of time it spends seeping affects the flavor and strength. As the user says, it is nomenclature, which I think you'd be familiar with as a "mouse" user!

        • Paul Ducklin · 286 days ago

          Good coffee isn't made by seepage :-)

          It needs *steepage* - pour hot water on grounds and let the suspension cook - or *pressure* - 900kPa if I recall correctly.

    • Peter · 286 days ago

      By the way it's English and American English...

      • Paul Ducklin · 286 days ago

        I think you will find the term "British English" to be in very common and perfectly well-understood use. (Because there is also Australian English, mate; South African English, jawellnofine; New Zealand English, bro', Jamaican English, mon; and many other distinct and healthy variants. Innit.)

        • Anonymous · 286 days ago

          Those are all very healthy and distinct variants on English. But they do not make English suddenly become "British English".

          It stays as just English.

          Making a variant on something doesn't change the title of the original, it adds a variation onto the original title. Hence in England they speak English, and elsewhere they speak "variant" English...

          To give another example, in Italy they speak Italian. If another country adapts that and makes their own variation like Jamaican Italian, or English Italian, it doesn't mean that Italian (as spoken in Italy) has to become "Italy Italian". It just stays as Italian...

          • Paul Ducklin · 286 days ago

            You seem to be under the misapprehension that "English" is a proud and self-contained product, coming from a country called England, that appeared one day in some full and final form, and was then modified in other parts of the world in ways that need to be tagged as variants.

            (Ironically, many aspects of what you would call "original English", and I - and most lexicographers - would much more clearly and comprehesibly call British English - are variations that have appeared in British usage since the American War of Independence, and where our transatlantic brothers and sisters have retained the usage that might more reasonably be called "original." The name of the season between summer and winter, for instance.)

            Now to find a way to link this to the *real* subject of the article: why "drip" coffee is second-best...

  4. Anonymous · 287 days ago

    What an elitist article, frankly you should be ashamed. It's none of your damned business what someone else does or does not wear.

    You're entitled to your opinion, but unfortunately that doesn't come with a guarantee that said opinion will be free of ignorance. As seen here.

    • Paul Ducklin · 287 days ago

      "Here" in my article, or "here" in your comment?

    • Anonymous · 286 days ago

      Always makes me giggle when a negative rant decides to go anonymous.

    • Anonymous · 286 days ago

      Even if it were none of "someones" business what someone else wears, it's still illegal to film in a private place. It doesn't matter if you wear the camera on your face, mount it on your shoulder or hold it in your hand.

      I'm basing my response here on this article making the points that it's illegal to film in a private place without consent, and that the establishment is a private place, and that Googleglass is "always recording".

      • Jane · 85 days ago

        In the UK it very definitely is not illegal to take photographs or films in a public place. The owner of a private place is free to make their own rules on the subject.

    • Anonymous · 278 days ago

      What an elitist comment, frankly you should be ashamed. It's none of your damned business what someone else does or does not permit on their property.

      You're entitled to your opinion, but unfortunately that doesn't come with a guarantee that said opinion will be free of ignorance. As seen there.

    • Mick A · 256 days ago

      It would appear that the majority disagree with you 'anonymous'. Presumably calling yourself that so that everyone respects your privacy. Anyway, as you have earned the right to speak your mind; we equally have the right to tell you how thoroughly stupid it is... By the way, you weren't in a Seattle diner late last year by any chance - were you????

  5. Anonymous · 287 days ago

    I was skeptical that a diner in Seattle was serving sub-par coffee, and sure enough you just snarked about Cafe Vita. That's recognized as one of the ten best coffees in America. :/

    • Paul Ducklin · 287 days ago

      I wasn't referring to the coffee itself (which depends on the grower and the climate), or the company that roasted and ground it, but the means of preparing it for drinking.

      (I'd go to this Lost Lake place anyway on account of the Google Glass policy. I suppose I could just ask them to put some grounds in a cup and add hot water, cut out the dripping and the filter thing.)

      • Anonymous · 286 days ago

        If you do go to Lost Lake, perhaps you should try the "drip" coffee. You might be pleasantly surprised.

  6. Anonymous · 287 days ago

    "Still, it wouldn't hurt for Lost Lake to put some decent coffees on the menu - espressos and ristrettos, for instance.

    Maybe it's just that I speak British English, but "drip" as an adjective for anything - especially coffee - doesn't make me want to consume it."

    Was this a necessary line to mention?

    • Paul Ducklin · 287 days ago

      Have you ever *tasted* "drip" (a.k.a filter) coffee? I thought it was worth a try to suggest some coffee clarity on the menu. At least so knew you could get a ristretto if you wanted one...

  7. MrMister · 287 days ago

    I'd like to hear the writers experience with their own pair of Glass that it doesn't sound like they own..

    I'm actually going to call out this entire article, because this seems like someone just deciding this is how it is just to talk about Glass who hasn't actually used them.

    Especially, since the writer doesn't seem to actually know how they work at all..

    • Paul Ducklin · 287 days ago

      It's not my experience of *my* Google Glasses that is important here...it's my experience of *your* Google Glasses.

  8. jet86 · 287 days ago

    I can see how Google Glass might be considered by some (or perhaps most) people as creepy, but I don't get why they are such a privacy concern. It seems to me that the only difference between Google Glass and a smartphone is that you wear Glass. Am I missing something obvious here?

    • Paul Ducklin · 287 days ago

      Well, Lost Lake Cafe and Lounge doesn't tolerate taking photos or videos with regular smartphones without permission from the people in the photo either. The most significant difference between hauling out a mobile phone and using it as a camera and wearing Google Glasses is the scale and speed with which the Glasses can capture data.

      If I see you preparing to take a picture at the next table to me, I have a chance to appeal to your sense of fairness, and ask you to aim the other way so I am not in your photo.

      But if I see you turning up with your sci-fi video googles, what am I supposed to do? The very fact that you feel it is reasonable to wear them all the time suggests that you have already crossed the bridge of bothering to ask permission first.

      Google Glassses just seem like the height of anti-privacy arrogance. "I am so important that I am wearing these spectacles not because my vision is poor and will be helpfully improved as a result. I am wearing them because I want to be able to take - and own! - video images of anyone who happens to come in my path, just like that. *That's* how important I am - anyone, any time, any place, should feel honoured that they might get a chance to take a bit part in the movie of my life."

      Consider smartphones versus Google Glasses as the difference between a firearm you've got holstered and pointing towards the ground with the safety on, and a handgun you're holding in your hand, waving in the face of everyone you pass. I'd rather not deal with either situation, but things are much more likely to go wrong if you expect everyone to look down your barrel with equanimity.

      • sdgengineer · 286 days ago

        The above analogy is exact! A concealed caryy handgun (Where legal of course) holstered, and unseen, vice a Waving one around. I like it!

      • Anonymous · 286 days ago

        Well said Paul.

      • Wilford Fatuous · 286 days ago

        In an industry where "security thru obscurity" is considered the epitome of ridiculousness, I find your handgun analogy to be farcical, especially given the fact that it's holstered at this moment has not effect on if it is waving in your face the next. As a technology user, you *know* you're being recorded all the time by various cameras (just look up once in a while?), but you only get upset when sometimes outright indicates this to you? That's the same twisted logic employed by Mike Rogers, and look how trivial many people found it to tear apart that argument. Do cafes not have security cameras in that "private" space, and do those that do even bother to inform customers, much less ask them?

        • Paul Ducklin · 286 days ago

          I don't know where you reach the conclusion that I "only get upset when sometimes outright indicates this to you."

          (IIRC, in many parts of the world, the use of surveillance cameras is at least supposed to be governed by regulations concerning notification, use and retention of the footage.)

          FWIW I don't like the amount of surveillance we are under - not at all - if only because we seem to collect way more data than is necessary or could ever be useful, which means that the collection can at best end purposelessly, but might very well end in egregious wrongs. So if I don't like CCTV, how much less ought I to like the idea of randomly appearing in the _cinema verite_ movie of someone else's self-important life? And why wouldn't I raise a wry toast to an eatery that seems to feel the same way :-)

          If readers can find well-documented examples of eateries that don't let people take mobile phone calls at the table...YES, I'M IN A RESTAURANT. A RES-TER-RONT. I'M HAVING SOMETHING TO EAT. *TO EAT*. FOOD, THAT'S RIGHT...hey, I'll raise them a wry toast, too.

      • Machin Shin · 286 days ago

        The thing that amazes me is that you seem to think the one and only feature of these glasses is "to take pictures and video". I for one would love to get a pair and those are two features I would never use.

        They also happen to have a display after all.... and if I wanted to take video all the time there are much better and FAR cheaper devices. Some of these other devices even look like normal glasses..

        • Paul Ducklin · 286 days ago

          That's the main feature that would annoy me if you were wearing a pair while sitting next to me at a restaurant. And I betcha you would take photos with your Google Glasses, at least from time to time. I betcha. Never say never...

  9. Alan · 286 days ago

    Articles like this always make me wonder what kind of reality people are living in when they fear "creepy streaming-video spectacles". What sort of data plans and battery life do glassphobes have available, as I want in on that!

    Yes, I know it's easy to take a photo - while still an undeniable privacy minefield, that's not quite always-on streaming-video though.

    I also wonder how different the reception would be if these devices had an Apple logo on the side...

    • Paul Ducklin · 286 days ago

      The logo would be...sorry, I can't resist it...the Apple of everyone's eye, I suppose.

    • Brian · 286 days ago

      An Apple logo would not change the fundamental use of the device. Of course, given that you brought it up; I would have to ask that if it had an Apple logo on it would you still defend it? Yeah, isn't that a hoot!

      • Paul Ducklin · 286 days ago

        Well, if it were an Apple device it would run a different OS, have a slightly leaner and visually more pleasing design, use completely different video and audio codecs, upload only to iCloud, and the "recording now" light would be apple-shaped.

  10. Guy · 286 days ago

    Previous articles here on Naked Security have mentioned that in Blightie, (the UK), we have our mugs photo'd by Tesco every time we fill up with petrol. (Gasoline).

    I guess that makes Tesco a bunch of Glassholes.

    It's a *real* shame I can't get a Tesco delivery of petrol the way I can get a Tesco delivery of everything else.

    I guess I have less of a problem with my IP being logged than my location, thanks to facial recognition.

    Should I wear a ski mask next time I fill up?

    • Brian · 286 days ago

      The UK has already lost the privacy battle completely. This is a good example of how America is at least attempting to slow the roll down that same road.

  11. Bill · 286 days ago

    '...Scott McNealy...', Scott who??? Oh, I think I remember now, that guy who is SO ENVIOUS of Bill Gates, yea, I remember.

  12. BobPro · 286 days ago

    Wish my online research skills were better. I'd attach a link. There's a Doonesbury strip from long, long ago that contains the Exchange: "Hey man, I'm just doing my thing." "Yeah but you're doing it to me." I think that the quote is accurate. Certainly applies to Google Glasses

    • Anonymous · 278 days ago

      Indeed: "Your right to swing your arms ends where the other man's nose begins." -Zechariah Chafee, Jr., 1919

  13. asm-wolf · 286 days ago

    While I can agree with your concerns on privacy here, it is disappointing to see such a biased and opinionated article that does not seem concerned with the other side of the argument. True, this blog is mostly concerned with privacy and security - in fact I read it because privacy and security is of paramount importance to me - but I still think that you should remain open and unbiased, particularly when someone's free will is debatably being infringed upon, not that I support the actions of the person in question, that, as I understand, did not act civilly in this scenario at all. I also think that your comments regarding the menu of the establishment in question were irrelevant to the topic at hand.

    • Paul Ducklin · 286 days ago

      His FREE WILL IS BEING INFRINGED UPON? For sitting there - on someone else's premises - with his all-seeing self-serving video-camera spectacles, and then having a hissy fit when the restaurant says, "You can do that in here, 'cos we care about everyone else more than we care about you"?

      There is no other side of the argument. There is no argument. Don't film other people without their permission. And don't put yourself in a position where the other people will never be sure if you're about to do so. Not in the Lost Lake Cafe and Lounge.

      And the menu suggestion was just a suggestion. Nothing says, "You won't be disappointed" like the word "ristretto" on a coffee menu. I just think it would complement the Lost Lake's unrepentant attitude to glassholes really well...

      • Paul Ducklin · 286 days ago

        Not that I feel strongly about all of this, in case anyone should get the wrong impression.

    • Brian · 286 days ago

      ...so you are saying that his rights trump everyone else's rights? Interesting.

      • asm-wolf · 285 days ago

        No; I'm simply trying to balance the argument slightly. I don't have a position on this either way, but it annoys me that people seem to only see one side to this. Google glass in not a intrinsically evil device used purely for spying on people and invading their privacy, yet the article seems to make negative comments about those that chose to use it in public as if it were. To reiterate; I am not in support of anyone that deliberately makes a fool of themselves like he seemed to. When asked to remove the glasses, he should have done so quietly and civilly rather than cause a fuss.

        • Paul Ducklin · 285 days ago

          It sounds as though we agree. The article is really about attitudes to others' "privacy comfort" (glassholitude), not about the technology itself.

          (One solution is that Google Glasses could film the *wearer*, not everyone else :-)

    • Will · 284 days ago

      Suppose I feel like relieving myself in my pants as i sit in a diner. Oh, you have a problem with that? Well, MY FREE WILL IS BEEING INFRINGED UPON. I'm precious. My Mommy told me so...continuously...for 18 years.

  14. 4caster · 286 days ago

    On my bean-to-cup espresso machine, the grinder is adjustable. On the finest setting the coffee emerges one drop at a time, and it cools quickly, but maximum soluble coffee is extracted from the beans. On a coarse setting the coffee comes more quickly, but some is left in the grounds. Perhaps Lost Lake Café and Lounge apply the finest setting.

    • that's why i have to grind it myself. even starbuck's ground sold at Safeway is about a 6 out of 10, ten being very fine. i still had to grind "already ground" coffee. how did we get on this topic anyway?

      • Paul Ducklin · 286 days ago

        We got onto this because someone complained about me suggesting that "drip" coffee isn't real coffee. (Technically, it wasn't a suggestion, just an objective fact.)

  15. Sam Cochran · 286 days ago

    Thanks for the heads-up Paul, nicely done. And for the naysayers who don't see a problem with Google Glasses, I would guess you have no problem with the NSA reading your emails and grabbing your cellular traffic, either. Because in essence, the two situations are identical.

    • Paul Ducklin · 286 days ago

      I don't have a problem with Google Glasses, any more than I have a problem with my own, or anyone else's, credit card sized still/video camera.

      I just have a problem when people wave such technology in my face as though I ought to be impressed or flattered, instead of thinking, "Get that stuff out of my face. Film YOURSELF eating, if that's so important to you."

      (And, for the record, as I have said before on Naked Security, I think the law that says that if you take my photo, it's not my photo but your photo, is the wrong way around, and more and more wrong as photos get easier and easier to take and redistribute widely. Photos should be "given" by the people in them, not "taken" by the person who owns the technology.)

      • paul,
        do Googie Lashes come with reams of photocopied "release" forms to be handed out to all parties being filmed asking permission for such (breach of confidentiality)?

  16. foo · 286 days ago

    I suspect that the real reason that someone wears Google Glass is the same reason that a person makes a big deal of displaying his latest high-end cell phone or tablet -- he's showing off. Neener neener neerer -- I have a more expensive toy than you have!"

    That, aside from the privacy concerns, makes him a Glasshole.

  17. Joe · 286 days ago

    So surveillance cameras all over the place are OK, but Google glass isn't? I don't see a huge difference as far as privacy goes.

    • Paul Ducklin · 286 days ago

      Surveillance cameras all over the place are not OK, and a surveillance camera on the end of your nose as you look at your fellow diners are even less OK.

  18. Anonymous · 286 days ago

    Paul - Sounds like you haven't had a chance to taste truly great coffee. Here in the States we've been seeing more roasters creating coffee specifically for use in ceramic drip coffee cones. The coffee can take anywhere from 1-3 minutes to prepare, and in many coffee-focused establishments, even longer. The resulting cup is rich with few bitter notes. Additionally, the flavor of the coffee is impacted by coffee throw weight; a single ristretto or cap usually has 9-10 g weights, whereas one of these drip coffees has more. Anyway, don't knock it til you try it, nomenclature be damned.

    • Paul Ducklin · 286 days ago

      I misread your answer first time - I saw it without the first full stop (period), like this: "Sounds like you haven't had a chance to taste truly great coffee here in the States" :-)

      I have, in fact, had very good coffee in the USA. Ironically, it was in a little coffee shop just a few hundred metres from a place called 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, California. It was a 4-shot Americano.

  19. anonymous · 285 days ago

    I don't want anyone taking my picture because I don't want an abusive partner to find me using google image search.
    Thanks

  20. eagleon · 285 days ago

    "That word describes those whose self-awarded sense of entitlement to wear their Glasses when out and about greatly exceeds the sense of discomfort and distrust those same Glasses provoke in the people around them."
    There's a gut-level irritation at reading this article, but the tone that you use here is particularly strange. You're applying a sweeping generalization to people -against- what you're against. Call me nuts, but I find that kind of thing pretty offensive even when I agree with some part of the sentiment - it's an imposition on the voice and opinion of people that might otherwise be your ally. Lose the proselytism thing, it's a cute gimmick to people that are already in your niche, but it's incredibly polarizing and annoying to anyone with some backbone of their own.

    • Paul Ducklin · 285 days ago

      I thought I had a vague idea what you meant - but I got lost when you got to the bit about "people against what I'm against.

  21. SumGuy954 · 283 days ago

    To record ones life would be a very boring film. Google glass is head the right direction but for all the wrong reasons.

    My idea of glass is not what I was hoping for. I was hoping for a tool that told me what I needed to know when I looked at something. I guess that is a few decades away from happening, considering the state of things now.

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About the author

Paul Ducklin is a passionate security proselytiser. (That's like an evangelist, but more so!) He lives and breathes computer security, and would be happy for you to do so, too. Paul won the inaugural AusCERT Director's Award for Individual Excellence in Computer Security in 2009. Follow him on Twitter: @duckblog