McDonald's: Digital specs privacy fears

2012-07-19 22:20

Paris - McDonald's workers in Paris who stopped a Canadian professor from wearing computerized eyeglasses feared he could be recording or photographing people in violation of their privacy, the company said Thursday.

Steve Mann, who designed a vision device similar to the enhanced reality glasses recently announced by Google, said he and his family were vacationing in Paris and stopped by the Champs Elysees McDonald's on 1 July.

In his blog, Mann wrote that he showed McDonald's staff a note from his physician and accompanying documents about the glasses, but that three staff members knocked the device off his head and grabbed it.

"McDonald's was the only establishment that seemed to have any problem with my eyeglass during our entire 2 week trip," Mann wrote, describing the three employees as Perpetrators 1, 2 and 3. He said when the first staffer grabbed the glasses, he recorded images of the confrontation. But the lens was damaged, said Mann, a professor of computer engineering at the University of Toronto.

On its Facebook page, McDonald's France wrote that as part of its inquiry officials have spoken with Mann and the employees.

The staff said they were concerned about privacy violations when they approached Mann, according to the statement. McDonald's did not say if the staff members admitted knocking the glasses off Mann's head.

"According to the employees, the exchanges with Mr Mann were respectful and polite," the company said. "Regarding the emotion this affair has generated, McDonald's asks that no one jump to conclusions before all the facts are known."

Mann has said he hopes the glasses will ultimately help the visually impaired. He did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday.

  • sadiemy - 2012-07-20 06:53

    Please explain. We electronically challenged readers need some info on what they are supposed to be able to do before we can understand this article.

      Squeegee - 2012-07-20 07:44

      It cannot be any more a threat than a cell phone with a camera (almost all). These guys overreacted, but then again: They work at Mcs - what do you expect, rocket scientists?

      gungets.tuft - 2012-07-20 08:17

      And if you are electronically challenged, how would you understand the explanation. Your response then would be that News24 is posting articles that are too difficult to understand. On the "related links" to the right of this article there are 2 pertinent articles, why not click on them and see if it helps. Otherwise type "digital spectacles vision impaired" into Google and read to your hearts content.

  • Mo Iqraam - 2012-07-20 07:20

    they dont give much info about the glasses. why is it such a threat??

  • paul.defondaumiere - 2012-07-20 07:42


  • ryno.warwick - 2012-07-20 07:52

    It wasn't a threat but in Paris personal privacy is very high up on the list. The glasses normally don't record anything and just relays whatever it picks up via the camera directly to his eye nerves i believe. He had a letter explaining it but that was torn up by the staff. Apparently the glasses are secured to his skull with special screws aswell so i'm sure it hurt when they tried to rip off the glasses.

  • gungets.tuft - 2012-07-20 08:22

    Respectful and polite Frenchman - that would be a first. Try being an English speaker in France.

  • cjamneck - 2012-07-21 20:31

    This is while they are all being filmed by the security cameras...funny!

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