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Man Physically Assaulted At McDonald's For Wearing Digital Eye Glasses 1198

RockoW writes "Steve Mann, a long-time researcher of computer vision systems, (i.e. Augmented reality, Digital Eyeglass) had an incident at a McDonald's in Paris, France. He was assaulted by three men during his visit to get food with his family. They had a problem with his digital eye glasses and tried to take them off his head. 'The eyeglass is permanently attached and does not come off my skull without special tools.' The men also tore up Mann's documentation and a letter from his doctor explaining the device's use. Fortunately, the rough treatment of the device caused it to keep recent images in its memory, instead of quickly overwriting them, so Dr. Mann has pictures of the men who assaulted him."
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Man Physically Assaulted At McDonald's For Wearing Digital Eye Glasses

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  • Just to clarify (Score:5, Informative)

    by isorox ( 205688 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @05:28AM (#40670899) Homepage Journal

    It's important to clarify (as I had to RTFA to realise this), that he claims he was assaulted by 3 employees of McDonalds

    This wasn't a random assault by other customers at some shady McDonalds at 3AM, nor was it an assault by a typical skinhead -- from the photos the alleged perpetrators were McDonalds Management.

    He's not the first person to claim McDonalds staff in France assault their customers. []

  • by acidfast7 ( 551610 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @05:40AM (#40670989)

    This story is borderline plausible.

    I can believe that some Parisians would vigorously defend against photos being take of the interior design/menu.

    I can also believe that someone would wear augmented reality glasses. Furthermore, I can understand that (a) McDonalds employee(s) would automatically react strongly to the camera and try to remove them from someone's head.

    However, what I don't understand is why the subject of the story just didn't leave McDonalds. Honestly, you're in a city full of excellent, and sometimes inexpensive, cuisine.

    Why even go to McDonalds in the first place and why not leave when there's an altercation? Is the 20€ of McDs food worth the hassle?

  • by zero.kalvin ( 1231372 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @05:43AM (#40671007)
    Definetly not! Perp 1 might be an arab, but 2 and 3 are not. Beside your assumption on skin is wrong, because while north african arabs are dark skinned, middle eastern ( Palastenian, lebanese and Syrian ) arabs vary from dark skin to extreemly white skin. You'd be surprised by some of my blue eyed blonde hair arab friends!
  • by slim ( 1652 ) <john@hartnup . n et> on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @05:44AM (#40671013) Homepage

    Don't get confused, I am not being racist

    Yes you are.

  • Re:is it real (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @05:54AM (#40671077)

    yes, this is probably fake, why didnt he went to the police and press charge? Why didnt he called the police and identified those persons? bullshit, this is

    From the article:

    I also contacted the Embassy, Consulate, Police, etc., without much luck.

    Him being a foreigner, I'm frankly not too surprised that the police were not helpful.

  • Re:is it real (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @05:57AM (#40671109)

    Can't believe some of the comments so far. This guy has been strapping computers to his body for 34 years, by his own count. He's been on slashdot many times in the past, and had run-ins with airport security a couple of times before:

    So it's very unlikely to be a fake. According to the article, he's contacted the police and Mcdonalds' with out any response. Based on his past experience with these types of situations, I think he knows exactly what he is doing in seeking some publicity.

  • Re:is it real (Score:2, Informative)

    by chrismcb ( 983081 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @05:57AM (#40671111) Homepage

    Why didnt he called the police and identified those persons?

    He claims he did contact the police, and they were not helpful.

  • by LourensV ( 856614 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @05:59AM (#40671131)

    Well, he's doing research on becoming a cyborg. The Borg didn't take off their gear before going to bed, and I can see how it just wouldn't be realistic if you could take your augmentations off whenever you wanted. And after all, glasses with built-in screens have been available for years now, so he would be rather behind the curve if he was simply wearing them occasionally.

    I seem to recall a story about Steve Mann from many years ago (but can't find it any more), where he similarly bumped into society's expectations of what a human is supposed to be. He was refused entry to an airplane unless he turned off his wearable computer. He at least initially refused, arguing that since there was a heart monitor connected to it, turning it off could result in him having an undetected heart issue, so that turning it off meant risking his life.

    It's not quite the same as here, as there were probably very valid safety grounds in that case, but it does show that the idea that a computer can be part of a person is still alien to us. At the same time, we are moving closer all the time to that scene in Accelerando where Manfred Macx is robbed of his computer and barely knows who he is anymore. Interesting times, and as you said, kudos to dr. Mann for pushing the envelope.

  • Re:is it real (Score:5, Informative)

    by Frohboy ( 78614 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @06:02AM (#40671155)

    Assuming the blog post was indeed written by the real Steve Mann [], a guy who has been doing this wearable computing stuff for a while [], I think we can trust that it's true. (And if he didn't write it, I would expect to hear something from him, saying that it's a fake.)

    It's also not his first altercation related to his wearable stuff. See, for example, this Slashdot story from 2002 [].

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @06:16AM (#40671229) Homepage

    He is the guy who INVENTED wearable computing and all the technology behind Project Glass.

  • Re:is it real (Score:3, Informative)

    by Minupla ( 62455 ) <> on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @06:34AM (#40671377) Homepage Journal

    Just pointing out, what he in fact says is As McDonand's does not publish any direct contact email information,. The page you link to contains no email information. He also says I tried on many occasions to contact McDonald's but have not received any response and details attempting to call their US 800 line.

  • Re:bs... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dynamoo ( 527749 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @06:45AM (#40671455) Homepage
    Dashboard cameras in cars do the same thing - if there's an impact then they save the current video clip and do not overwrite it. Not so difficult to do.
  • Re:is it real (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jesrad ( 716567 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @06:48AM (#40671489) Journal

    McDonald's France is mostly a branding entity, and that the restaurants themselves are franchised. Most of the restaurants are small limited-liability, self-owned enterprises that lease out the brand, inner organization + recipes, and general appearance. They do have a deep, continued relationship with the brand itself, through the regular auditing, the training of employees and the management courses provided along with the branding. The branding entity does own some corporate restaurants, and apparently the Champs Elysées venue is among them, so this contact information may not be useless in this particular case.

    As a side-note, a simple web search turned out this french newspaper article [] about the director of this particular restaurant, Khader Aissani, who happens to look closely like the "perpetrator 1" identified in the original article's photos.

  • Re:is it real (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jesrad ( 716567 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @07:03AM (#40671555) Journal

    And based on my past experience, as a french citizen, of being assaulted and turning to the Police for help, I find his claims of getting no useful response completely realistic and plausible.

    However, once this incident becomes more widely known in french-language blogs and media, it'll quickly attract a lot of attention and will probably elicit an official (outraged) reaction of McDonald's France, and maybe cause a few interviews of politicians trying to look like they're concerned. That's how it works here.

  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @07:03AM (#40671559)

    Behold! Chrisq feels the need to tell everyone just how much of a racist fuck he is. You are the problem, not the Muslims.

    Behold dave420 feels the need to show everyone what an idiot he is. I have not mentioned race at all. You don't even know what race I am. White Muslims are Just [] as Capable [] and likely [] to be terrorists [] as brown ones, and there are plenty of brown victims, the peaceful Coptic Christians for example

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @07:28AM (#40671759)

    There are quite a few people walking this earth with built in computers. Modern pacemakers are nothing short of a computer system that not only "dumbly" shoots electricity into your heart but they monitor it, gauge its function and then react to it, a task that is very hard to do without a system to process information. They can't take it off without some rather invasive surgery and I wouldn't recommend turning it off either.

    Then what about people with built in hearing aids? These little thingamajigs are crammed right into their hearing apparatus and do their work there, also impossible to remove without cutting their skull open.

    What these two systems have in common, and what sets them apart from the one in question, is just that you don't see them obviously. Ok, the latter has an outside part, usually, but that looks just like some ordinary hearing aid device, something we got used to by now. We're also used to glasses, which are visible but not very "high tech". Nobody tried to deliberately knock off my glasses lately, though, actually, not since high school.

    So what's the difference? The difference is just that people look "odd" with those things attached, and that we see them. So as long as we don't see how people are being technically altered it's fine? Great, so I'll just get the shotgun attached into my arm instead of onto it and you should be ok with it, I guess.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @07:36AM (#40671825)

    You're American aren't you - only an American could be so racist. You also obviously haven't read TFA - or you'd know two of the perps were white. Yeah - perhaps I should take your advice and avoid white Americans

  • by daem0n1x ( 748565 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @07:40AM (#40671863)

    These guys were ALL seemingly of middle-eastern origins but that's NOT the issue.

    If they were Arabs, the most likely origin is Morocco, Tunisia and specially Algeria. These countries are in the Middle East just as much as France is.

    Otherwise you're right, that's REALLY NOT the issue.

  • Re:is it real (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jesrad ( 716567 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @07:41AM (#40671869) Journal

    And it's on: famous french blogger Maitre Eolas [] relayed the news much earlier this morning (does the guy even sleep ?), which then was picked up by L'Express [] (national newspaper) half an hour ago. It will be all over french social networks for the next couple days. Apparently the restaurant is not owned by McDonald's, it is a franchise owned by the limited-liability society Elyrest [].

  • by pablo_max ( 626328 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @07:50AM (#40671971)

    " They basically confined their Arabic minorities in ghettos for a generation, which prevented those minorities from acquiring French culture"

    Bull shit.
    They confine THEMSELVES! It is exactly the same here in Germany. The Muslim popular stays in their own areas. They choose not to integrate. The parents forbid their children from pursuing relations with non Muslims.
    You cannot blame the local population when immigrants refuse to integrate. We all know how understand Americans are about this sort of thing. They love it when Mexicans speak spanish to them. They would never say something like, "learn English you Mexican".

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @08:02AM (#40672061) Journal
    Based on the pictures kindly provided in TFA, they were all boring-looking caucasians in generic 'knowledge worker' garb(complete with outward-facing photo-ID badge on belt in the case of the mental giant who decided to assault the guy with the camera attached to his head while wearing photo ID...)

    While I recognize the (statistically, perhaps, er, 'tentitatively validated') American reflex to assume that 'assaulted' and 'mcdonalds' in the same sentence signals a wacky story about the violence of the degenerate classes, it appears that the French golden arches crowd is slightly different...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @08:02AM (#40672067)

    Untrue. They are in a public place, he can film or photograph any person he wants. They don't have an expectation of privacy.

  • Re:is it real (Score:5, Informative)

    by Coeurderoy ( 717228 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @08:13AM (#40672157)

    For the local police it is a hassle and a insuficiently documented event, it would be the same in about any country.
    The only way to progress (unfortunatelly) is to contact a local lawyer, or the local Bar association []
    And come back with the lawyer, explain that you want to sue for :
    - damage
    - discrimination (a latter to the HALDE) (the anti discrimination authority in France)
    - moral pain
    Seek cost of trial + damage + punitive damage, let's say (since it's not quite as expensive in France) 100 000 €
    And the answer will be quite different.

    And it has nothing to do with France as such but everything with the mindset an international Franchise breeds in the loosers who have to work for them.
    The "Garçons" in a local Brasserie might be haughty and unhelpful, they might speak no or little english, but they couldn't care less if you have a gizmo on your head or not, they are not afraid you will "copy" the "secrets" on the price list, or maybe focus on dirt and make a film "exposé" for the media.

    Moreover going to a mac donald in France is really not a very good idea, but the one on the champs élysé is one of the worst (he could also go to the one on "rue de flandre" chances are that the level of inteligence is similar, at least it had a similar reputation a couple of years back).

  • I'm not condoning physical violence, but I think wearable recording devices _should_ be resisted by the general public. I would have sided with the victim except for the fact that he has presented these (crystal clear) images that he saved onto the device. His defense is that the device is for improved vision, yet improved vision does not require images to be retained. Retaining images is the part I am against.

    You could have bothered to read the article, you know:

    The computerized eyeglass processes imagery using Augmediated Reality, in order to help the wearer see better, and when the computer is damaged, e.g. by falling and hitting the ground (or by a physical assault), buffered pictures for processing remain in its memory, and are not overwritten with new ones by the then non-functioning computer vision system.

    As a result of Perpetrator 1's actions, therefore images that would not have otherwise been captured were captured. Therefore by damaging the Eye Glass, Perpetrator 1 photographed himself and others within McDonalds.

    You're correct in that a wearable device could be saving pictures without your knowledge, but the discussion is one of policy and based on a hypothetical that has not occurred: he did not intentionally save any images. Your particular outrage at the victim here is misplaced.

  • by Guspaz ( 556486 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @10:58AM (#40673825)

    It's pretty clear from the article that his device does not permanently record anything, but simply has a ring buffer that stores the last short while for processing. The victim would not even have had images of his assailants if they had not broken his computer while assaulting him, freezing the ring buffer in place.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @01:22PM (#40675649)

    I don't know about Turkey, but I, too, had a similar experience in Paris. I lived near the French border (in Germany) for over five years; I was in France every week. According to the folks I encountered in the country on a weekly basis, my French was quite decent.
    I took a group of visiting American friends to Paris, and we were in a bakery one morning. Not only did the two ladies working there patently ignore me when I (politely) asked for something, but they stood there and complained to each other about how I was butchering their language! All I could do was say "I understand what you are saying" (in French) before I herded my visitors out of the store.
    That was about fifteen years ago. I was just back in Paris last year; I didn't even try to speak French. Interestingly, I was treated quite well.
    In all of my other travels around Europe over the past fifteen years, whenever I have tried to speak the local language, no matter how badly, I have been received with warm smiles and friendly words... just not in Paris.

  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @08:08PM (#40680317) Homepage Journal

    So the Germans work in factories making Porsches and BMWs and send them Greece where they're bought by people who have never done an honsest day's work in their lives.

    When I say "bought", I mean that they pay for them with money borrowed from the Germans, that they then refuse to repay.

    Those evil fucking Nazi bastards! What Teutonic cunning came up with the duplicitous plan of giving people stuff for doing nothing? It's 1940 all over again.

A consultant is a person who borrows your watch, tells you what time it is, pockets the watch, and sends you a bill for it.