ICE Takes To Twitter In Ridiculous Attempt To Defend Interrogating A Man In A Movie Theater For Wearing Google Glass
from the theft? dept
Earlier this week there was a report about a guy being yanked out of his seat in a movie theater for wearing Google Glass during the movie. Glass was turned off, and the guy kept them on because he had prescription lenses installed and wears them as his regular glasses. Both the MPAA and federal agents were called to interrogate the guy for a few hours, asking him a bunch of ridiculous questions until late in the night, before someone finally realized he hadn’t done anything. Both the MPAA and ICE confirmed the incident happened, and yesterday folks at ICE — who have recently been transitioned into the new Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) organization — decided to take to their bizarrely named twitter account, @wwwicegov, to further “defend” these actions, by talking up how they’re in charge of dealing with “movie theft.” Because, apparently, Homeland Security Investigations doesn’t understand the law, and doesn’t realize that (1) infringement is not, and has never been, “theft” and (2) a dude wearing a powered-off Google Glass is not doing anything wrong. Here are the tweets:
As you can see, there’s a lot of ridiculousness there — just the fact that they repeatedly refer to it as “theft,” as mentioned above. The problem is that ICE’s role as “the lead agency to combat piracy” is a joke. As ICE, it was supposed to focus on stopping counterfeit physical products from crossing the border. But with the help of Joe Biden and Hollywood, that mandate has been twisted repeatedly, so that what started as a very narrow mandate is now being treated as this broad mandate from an organization that doesn’t even understand the issues. For years now, the group has made sure to conflate the very, very different issues of counterfeits at the border with copyright infringement, as it tries to expand its own mandate.
And now that’s reached the absolutely insane point of yanking people out of their movie seats for doing nothing wrong, entirely on the say so of the MPAA — a private group which has a long history of overreacting badly to new technologies.
What comes out of this is that ICE/HSI now appears to be incredibly gullible, falling for basically every bullshit claim from the MPAA. Just imagine if ICE/HSI had been around and had this sort of broad stupid made-up power over “intellectual property theft” during the introduction of the VCR — back when the MPAA was declaring it illegal? ICE would be out there raiding and shutting down electronics stores for selling the devices. All because the MPAA said so.