Is It Legal to Ban Google Glass?

By Carlton Purvis, Published Mar 28, 2014, 12:00am EDT

No longer are facility based surveillance cameras alone watching you. 

Now you must contend with people wearing personal ones.

San Francisco bars and restaurants are starting to ban patrons from wearing Google Glass inside their establishments, some citing privacy concerns. And one resident is compiling a list of the places than ban audio and video recordings, what he calls Glasshole-Free establishments. Here’s the incident credited with starting the bans:

How it Started

It all started after obnoxious social media consultant Sarah Slocum got into an altercation at a San Francisco bar with patrons who didn’t want to be recorded by the Google Glass she was wearing. Slocum has a history of driving people to take out restraining orders against her. Slocum is also a Google Glass explorer, commonly referred to on the Internet as Glassholes. It begin verbally and ended with one of them ripping the glasses off her face (at the end of the video below):

Glasshole-Free Zones

Daen de Leon created a site called to track places banning Google Glass. The creator of the website declined an interview, saying he didn’t want to fan the flames. Eighteen places have been added to the list in the last month

“If you run a bar, cafe, or restaurant, and want signs to put up to let customers that you don't allow the use of Google Glass or other audio/video recording devices, StopTheCyborgs has some that are creative commons licensed to download and print out,” he writes on the site.

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Why the Bars Are Banning Recording

Most of the bars aren’t talking to media from outside of San Francisco about it, but have given interviews or statements to local papers. Their sentiments can be summed up like this: We do’t know if they are legal or not, but we know it bothers our customers. And our customers our uncomfortable with someone being able to record them covertly.

One bar, The Willows, has this sign up. It was posted by a patron on its Facebook page:

When I called though they said they did not want to talk about it.


From a legal standpoint, the bars and restaurants have the right to decide what patrons can and can’t do on the inside. If they want to ban people using a certain technology for privacy reasons, they can.

Addtionally, California prohibits covert recording and requires consent from all parties to make videos.

What Do You Think

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