This story's a couple of days old, but I thought it was a important illustration of what Edward Snowden has been trying to say: The U.S. is using many of these powers to protect corporate interests. Why the federal government sees its appropriate role as private security guards for industry still baffles me, but maybe things are just a lot closer to corporate control than I think:
Days after a California driver escaped a traffic conviction over wearing Google Glass behind the wheel, the search company's augmented-reality device is once again testing the law. On Saturday, an Ohio man was detained for several hours by federal agents who suspected him of recording "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" in his local movie theater using Glass's video function.
"About an hour into the movie," Columbus-based Tiberiu Ungureanu told The Gadgeteer, "a guy comes near my seat, shoves a badge that had some sort of a shield on it, yanks the Google Glass off my face and says, 'follow me outside immediately.'"
What followed was a lengthy interview that ended only when Ungureanu convinced an agent to search his device for evidence of the offending footage. There was none.
While Ungureanu initially suspected his interrogators to be officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, they later turned out to be agents from the Department of Homeland Security — specifically, from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement department, which deals with international piracy cases in collaboration with the movie industry. In this case, officials from the Motion Picture Association of America, who were already at the theater, contacted ICE when they learned that someone was in the audience with a recording device.
"On Jan. 18, special agents with ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations and local authorities briefly interviewed a man suspected of using an electronic recording device to record a film at an AMC theater in Columbus," Khaalid Walls, an ICE spokesman, told The Washington Post on Tuesday. "The man, who voluntarily answered questions, confirmed to authorities that the suspected recording device was also a pair of prescription eye glasses in which the recording function had been inactive. No further action was taken."
ICE has taken a prominent role in Washington's global anti-piracy efforts, even going so far as to publish a public service announcement on YouTube and linking to it from various file sharing domains that it's seized.