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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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @05:26AM (#40670883)

    Subject says it all

  • is it real (Score:1, Insightful)

    by bs0d3 ( 2439278 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @05:26AM (#40670889)
    the story sounds possibly untrue and slanderous, and the only source that everyone is retweeting is the same one linked here, from a blog on blogspot that has only one post which was recently created.
  • Re:is it real (Score:1, Insightful)

    by hvm2hvm ( 1208954 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @05:29AM (#40670907) Homepage
    Ye, sounds like a way to build some hype around the digital eye glass stuff.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @06:00AM (#40671139)

    Arabs or blacks? They are always them in Paris in this kind of incident.

    Don't get confused, I am not being racist, and I don't mean all the arabs or blacks do these things, what I mean is that the 95% of people who do that in Paris (in Paris, I don't mean other cities or countries, which I don't know), are arabs or blacks.

    When I was there I saw lots and lots of incidents like that.

    They are almost certainly Muslims, and naturally assume that the guy with glasses is from the security services and interested in their terrorist plots. Hopefully the real security services are monitoring them undetected.

    So, it seems that not only does McDonalds in Paris have some strange issues with cameras, but judging from these comments, a surprising number of French people are racist.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @06:07AM (#40671189)

    I would never bring kids to McDonalds. (I guess for Americans is normal, but I would never give something like that to my kids).

  • by Mithent ( 2515236 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @06:18AM (#40671237)
    Not wanting to admit you is a bit different from assaulting you (assuming the story is true).
  • Re:is it real (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @06:23AM (#40671273) Homepage

    Well He's been doing this "digital eye glass stuff" for over 15 years now, and invented Wearable computing. you know those professors gotta get their faces in the news! Damn attention whores!

  • by profplump ( 309017 ) <> on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @06:34AM (#40671371)

    Clearly anyone eating a single meal ever at McDonalds is an unfit parent and gastronomical philistine.

    It's not even possible that they just wanted some quick, familiar food on their way home after a full day experiencing whatever you think qualifies as "real" Paris.

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

    by Mithent ( 2515236 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @06:34AM (#40671379)
    Having just read several stories about how people were mugged in the UK and the police didn't care to investigate [] despite having leads in many cases, I can believe that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @06:39AM (#40671413)

    You should be assaulted for starting your post in the subject line and finishing it in the comment field.

  • Re:Are you real? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rve ( 4436 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @06:45AM (#40671457)

    Funny that you seem to think of Miami as a major city, but that is not the only part of your statement I disagree with. It is NOT normal in major cities in the developed world to have areas where the police doesn't dare to go. If this happens in peace time, it is a serious breakdown in society. The fact that you seem to have come to think of it as normal is very troubling indeed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @06:46AM (#40671463)

    If it is true that Arabs or blacks are responsible for most of the violence in Paris (I do not know if it is true) than it is a fact. If it is a fact, it is not a racism to mention it.

    Racist would hate all Arabs or black.
    Racist would never approve his child marrying an Arab or black.
    But free man can talk about facts without being racist.

    Personally, I like Arabs and their culture and as far as I know, they have nothing to do with the incident.

  • by bipbop ( 1144919 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @06:47AM (#40671469)

    What kind of bullshit moderation is this? +1 Informative? And it's not just this comment. Throughout the comments on this story, I see ignorance, racism, and bullshit not only posted but modded up.

    I guess I'll be meta-moderating more often.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @06:57AM (#40671521)

    The correct way to phrase a racist statement like this is as follows.

    "I am not a racist, but..."

  • Re:is it real (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jeremyp ( 130771 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @07:01AM (#40671539) Homepage Journal

    There's this thing you can do where you print the content of your email on a piece of paper and put it inside a thing called an envelope. If you then write the address in the parent's link on the outside of the envelope and give it to your local postal company, for a small fee they will have it transported to the address you have written on the envelope.

    If this guy was serious, he'd have done that as well as writing the emails.

    I notice there's also a published telephone number. He could also have tried that, but he'd probably need good French to make that work.

  • Re:is it real (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mithent ( 2515236 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @07:08AM (#40671589)
    Not directly, I just happened to have read that story earlier in the day (I'm British myself) and was reminded of it by this case where, apparently, the police also weren't very interested. I would like to think that the police in general, whether in Paris or London, would investigate this sort of thing when there's some evidence to go on, but clearly that doesn't necessarily happen - and so their supposed lack of response here doesn't seem as out-of-place as I'd like it to be, since there has been some discussion over whether the story sounded legitimate.
  • by Pieroxy ( 222434 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @07:15AM (#40671649) Homepage

    Burkha ban. Look it up.

    Burkha ban is a proof that the banners are racists? Since when?

  • by dr2chase ( 653338 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @07:20AM (#40671685) Homepage

    Is this French law you are quoting? Napoleonic Code and English Common Law are different beasts.

  • Re:Just to clarify (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @07:21AM (#40671689)

    It's only inaccurate if it's not true. You're jumping to conclusions just as much as the guy you're criticizing. Do you know for certain that it isn't true?

    For rhetorical purposes: what if it were true (based on published statistics that I'm sure is out there if one had the time to research) that immigrants commit more crimes per capita than non-immigrants; then what? Would you see it as being justified to have this conversation, or would you come up with a different reason to paint this topic as being morally reprehensible?

  • by Pieroxy ( 222434 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @07:25AM (#40671733) Homepage

    They basically confined their Arabic minorities in ghettos for a generation

    As always, it's a heck of a lot more complex than that. No, we haven't confined our Arabic immigrants in ghettos. Yes, there are ghettos. No, they weren't designed to be ghettos. No, newly arrived immigrants DON'T want to live anywhere else than in those ghettos.

    I can too make uninformed and misleading catchy sentences. Look: Meanwhile, while we accept those immigrants in our land, they lapidate and kill christians all over northern Africa.

    See? Sounds good, is punchy, makes an impression, and is utterly stupid. Just like your statements.

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

    by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @07:29AM (#40671765) Journal
    So, if Gates or Linus were to write something like this, you would say that it was untrue and slanderous? Because Dr. Mann is well known in his field. This man did not attach a perm. eye piece to his head just to cause some nutjobs to attack him so that he could NICELY try to deal with this. And yes, I would say that he is dealing nicely with it.
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @08:21AM (#40672237) Homepage

    Why do people say "minorities" instead of "non-white" or "darker-skinned people"? In some areas, these people are not "minorities" and yet are still referred to as such.

    I wish people would get over politics and political correctness to get to the real meaning. How many times will "mentally retarded" be redefined before people give up with the name changing? How many name changes for "negro" will we have to suffer before people just let the thing being labeled define itself? (What I mean about mentally retarded is that we don't "say that" now... it's special, challenged and even gifted. Their classes were "special education" and "life skills" and all that. And about negro? "Nigger" is more of a reflection on the lack of education of the user than the people labelled. But "colored people"? As in NAACP? Or the original negro as in UNCF (United Negro College Fund)? And "African-American"? Wholly crap! They aren't African! They are just American because they were born here *and* usually not %100 black!)

    Sorry... I just don't think it's enough to say "why can't we all just get along?"

  • by thesandtiger ( 819476 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @08:30AM (#40672323)

    So what?

    "We do not want you to film our business, employees, or customers. Since you say you cannot stop, you have to leave now or we will have the police escort you out."

    There was absolutely no need to physically touch him to do this. I cannot imagine Mann would refuse to leave if they had made those objections known.

    I don't care what the prior history is unless it includes Mann literally making threats of physical violence against them if they didn't serve him his Royale avec frommage.

  • by Jesus_666 ( 702802 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @08:53AM (#40672559)
    For the same reason you'd eat at a McDonald's elsewhere: You hate decent food.
  • by slim ( 1652 ) <john@hartnup . n et> on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @09:00AM (#40672635) Homepage

    They confine THEMSELVES! It is exactly the same here in Germany. The Muslim popular stays in their own areas. They choose not to integrate.

    I spent a few weeks working in Japan. I picked up a newsletter for British expats, which included an article about where to get the best British-style roast dinner in Tokyo. One weekend I went to visit a British friend who'd been living in Tokyo for a few years, and I mentioned that article to him. "I can't imagine why you'd come to Japan, where there's all this amazing Japanese food, and then go to these lengths to get a British meal, and spend time with British people"

    And he said "well, you know, after the first couple of months, you just want a taste of home, and to hang out with people who speak your language and understand your cultural reference points."

    And, put like that, I understood what he meant.

    Ghettos come about for (at least) two reasons:

      - People want to be near people who share their culture
      - People live where they can afford to live

    I do believe integration should be encouraged - but in a slow and steady manner. Making sure that schools all contain a natural ethnic mixture would be a good start.

  • by MisterSquid ( 231834 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @09:15AM (#40672759)

    The reason blacks in the United States and scholars of race are particular about naming is because historical usage is often inaccurate and/or racist.

    Negro is a mistaken identification of race, and scientists are in general agreement that race has no biological basis.

    In the contemporary context, "black" is perfectly acceptable as is "African-American", though "black" has problems with precision and specificity as does "African-American". For example, many "black" people are actually less black in their skin-tone than some non-blacks (including some whites). African-American confuses nationality and obscures color in order to be historically accurate and, for better or worse, is the term generally accepted by educated and cultured people in the United States.

    The real issue is that racism is often not even conscious. People don't even recognize how they have been subtly trained by media and culture to hold a racist bias.

    What I find curious is how you mush together a discussion of how to refer to mentally impaired people and people of black African ancestry. Why these two? Why not Jews and blacks, or Indians and blacks? What are your unconscious presumptions about these populations that makes you link them together when thinking about how to name them?

  • by crazyjj ( 2598719 ) * on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @09:16AM (#40672763)

    only an American could be so racist.

    Colonial Africa would beg to differ.

  • by Inda ( 580031 ) <> on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @09:20AM (#40672803) Journal
    That's no longer true (about the British).

    I haven't seen a proper fight here in twenty years. And I was involved in that one.

    I've never seen a football related fight, but I only travel to half a dozen games a year.

    My social circle contains a lot of undesirables. Violence is still rare.
  • by evilandi ( 2800 ) <> on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @09:53AM (#40673105) Homepage

    Whilst I don't doubt for a moment that Parisian fast food operatives can be rude and physically pushy, it does appear from TFA that he had communication issues and a tendency to be rather arrogant (the whole article starts with "DON'T YOU KNOW WHO I AM? I'M AN ACKNOWLEDGED GENIUS!" and works its way from there).

    McDonalds in France (and in the UK and many other countries) do not allow still cameras, video cameras or other recording equipment to be operated inside their restaurants without explicit permission from the managers.

    This is clearly labelled on all the doors as you go in, not just in words, but a picture of a camera crossed out.

    If you don't agree, go elsewhere, problem avoided.

    What seems to have happened is that an attention-seeking American ignored these notices. He was then asked to put away the recording equipment, and he didn't comply. At that point he was probably asked to leave, but from TFA I'm not convinced he knew enough French to realise what was being asked of him. A scuffle then broke out.

    It's important to note that on private premises, the staff can ask you to leave for any reason (it's their shop, not yours) and if you refuse, they can legally use reasonable force. Same anywhere in Europe. In larger cities where they have lots of troublemakers they will even employ professional bouncers (doormen, security guards) to enforce this, but anyone acting with the owner's consent can chuck you out, physically if need be. My first wife was even directly instructed by the police to physically manhandle unruly customers out of her amusement arcade rather than calling 999 (911/112), which seeing as she was a 6'2" amazonian and her customers were weedy videogaming teenagers was rather one-sided, and probably not the Xena experience they had fantasised about. Point is, shop staff can ask you to leave, they don't have to give you a reason, and if you don't comply, they can physically chuck you out perfectly legally.

    Now there's clearly a question about whether the amount of force used was reasonable, but that question only arose because he ignored or refused to comply with what is a very, very reasonable request: People in restaurants generally don't want to be filmed. If he's too ignorant or arrogant to deal with that, then scuffles such as the one he described are entirely predictable.

    As if to reinforce people's view of him as arrogant and out-of-touch, he appears to have looked up American contact information on WHOIS rather than using the phone number on a French-language website; seemingly he thinking a bunch of IT infrastructure engineers 8,000 miles away are going to be able to do anything about bouncers in a fast food restaurant in a foreign country.

    In short, the moral of the tale is: If you're in a foreign country and you're pissing people off, consider the possibility that the foreign country has different social norms than what you're used to, and adapt appropriately. If you're not prepared to accept that, rip up your passport and stay at home.

    I mean, heck, I'm not a fan of Catholicism, but I'm not rude or arrogant enough to expect to be able to visit French cathedrals wearing beach shorts without getting an old lady jabbing a sharp, painful and accusing finger into my hide, and even if I did, I'd take it as an indication that *I* was the one doing something wrong.

    People are trying to relax and eat, put your recording equipment away dude!

    (And I don't for a moment buy the argument that the digital glasses aren't recording equipment. Exhibit A, the still photos on the chap's web page.)

    The bloke was being a dick.

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

    by metalgamer84 ( 1916754 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @10:13AM (#40673325)
    Huh, remind me to never visit the UK. No wonder muggings happen so much there. Here in the US we carry handguns. If you mug somebody, you get shot in self defense.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @10:33AM (#40673549)

    The glasses are meant to augment reality not record it. They only recorded images because they were damaged so the buffer could not clear data. You may not believe it, but checking buffers is a common computer forensic technique to retrieve data on damaged devices so you might want to learn a bit more before writing. For that matter, they did not take away peoples' cell phones, tablets, pda, or cameras, so why should he have to literally remove this item from his skull. In case you missed it, they were surgically attached to his body. That is why he has a doctor's note. Policy does not permit the illegal use of force in a public abode.

  • by Thelasko ( 1196535 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @10:33AM (#40673557) Journal
    Everyone fears what is different from themselves, [] or what they have accepted as a social norm. [] It's an evolutionary trait that allows humans to live and work in groups, and allows primitive tribes to keep sick individuals from infecting the rest of the tribe.

    Eventually most of us learn to ignore this trait as our higher thinking can do a better job of perceiving what is a threat and what is not. Apparently these individuals perceived this man's uniqueness as a threat on some level, so they attacked him. It doesn't excuse this behavior, but that's what happened.

    There was a very good episode of the TV show Head Games [] about this topic. They had some actors do things that go against our social norms, like refusing to stand in line. Those actors were nearly physically assaulted.
  • by invid ( 163714 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @10:33AM (#40673559)

    The most significant issues here are the implications of wearing a camera on your head and recording your life all the time. Here we have one problem in doing so, French McDonald's employees. Another problem is that Steve Mann probably wears his device in in the men's room and may incidentally record people doing things they might not want recorded. As such devices become less conspicuous we are going to get more incidents with wearable live cams, and we all will be recorded more often than we may wish.

    And why the heck is everyone talking about race? Race is completely off topic.

  • by Wattos ( 2268108 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @11:05AM (#40673917)

    In short, the moral of the tale is:

    In short, the moral of the tale is that you are an idiot. Just because he was having a camera, does not mean he is recording anything. Next you will want to assault anyone talking on a smartphone. After all it also has camera and he might be just faking the conversation.

    (And I don't for a moment buy the argument that the digital glasses aren't recording equipment. Exhibit A, the still photos on the chap's web page.)

    RTFA. It clearly says that it only records the images when it detects being damaged.

    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.

  • by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @11:18AM (#40674099)

    Or just stay out of Europe. In case you've not seen the news lately, the EU is turning into a pretty violent place with citizens attacking police & vice versa.

    Funny how the last McDonalds story led to many posts about "dumb Americans" and "typical American behavior". But when the Europeans act stupid suddenly there is silence.

  • by mrmagos ( 783752 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @11:30AM (#40674273) Homepage
    Why would they need machine guns? The power of their economy and stranglehold on the Euro seems to be doing the trick this time around.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @12:29PM (#40674945)

    Pushing in front of a queue does indeed violate social norms, but it's not "being unique", it's being an asshole, and will be corrected by the other people present.

  • by ChrisMaple ( 607946 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @01:08PM (#40675453)

    Everyone fears what is different from themselves

    Welcome to the world of overgeneralization based on the new standard of truth, wikipedia. Will Rogers would be so proud.

    I'm afraid of air? Air differs from me. I'm afraid of puppies? They differ from me.

    A more accurate statement would be a substantial portion of people are wary of significant novelty . But that wouldn't fit your pop-psychology agenda, would it?

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.