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Physical assault by McDonald's for wearing Digital Eye Glass (eyetap.org)
1056 points by balnaphone on July 16, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 446 comments

No one at an ordinary McDonald's would even notice such a device. Ergo this was not an ordinary McDonald's, but one with security people looking for cameras. Why would a McDonald's have security people looking for cameras? Possibly because it was a mafia front. If you wanted to launder money, a fast food restaurant in a popular location would be a good place to do it.

The way the employees behaved is consistent with this explanation.

Edit: I should have said no more than that the excessive reaction of the security people suggests there may be something dubious happening at this McDonald's that they don't want filmed. But there are other less dramatic things they might be doing besides money laundering: using undocumented labor, for example.

Is this the real PG throwing around conspiracy theories? Wow.

I'm French and have been living in Paris my whole life. In France you're not allowed to take pictures or movies of people without their consent. If you try to take pictures of strangers in the subway you will be heckled and possibly assaulted, and the police will do nothing to stop it.

I'm not defending my country here -- I'm a photographer and resent this a lot, this attitude is stupid -- but this is how it is.

> No one at an ordinary McDonald's would even notice such a device.

Every fast food and most retail shops now have "private security" who are untrained/uneducated people standing at the door and watching people come and go. I would bet none of them speaks a word of English so it's unlikely the letter from a doctor in the US meant anything to them. They felt entitled to prevent the taking of pictures in the restaurant and felt they were being played with false official documentation.

(Go try and take pictures at any McDonald's in Paris or any other fast food joint and you'll be met with extreme hostility, and possibly physical aggression).

This privatization of security is a very big problem and a scandal in its own right (the rule of law means the state has a monopoly on legitimate violence) and I try hard to never comply with what those security people tell me, and tell them to call the police if they're unhappy -- the fact is that they have absolutely zero legitimate power but since nobody knows it, they have a lot of semblance of power.

But I would be very very surprised if McDonald's in France (on the Champs Élysées!) had restaurants that were a mafia front. Undocumented labor is a more likely possibility, but again, no restaurant or in fact no retail place in Paris will let you take pictures inside their premises without a very strong confrontation. Go ahead and try.

You make a convincing case. I didn't realize attitudes toward photography (and security in shops) were so different in France. I've taken quite a lot of pictures there, including inside shops and restaurants IIRC, but somehow I must never have tripped this rule.

How embarrassing to have produced an instance of the indignant and uninformed speculation that I so often groan to find at the top of HN comment threads.

Yes, isn't the picture on your front page from Paris?


You can take pictures of monuments; you can take "general" pictures in the street; you can take pictures of people sitting at the same table as you in a restaurant.

But if you specifically target a stranger in the street, or take pictures in a shop, etc. then it will cause a stir.

>>You can take pictures of monuments; you can take "general" pictures in the street; you can take pictures of people sitting at the same table as you in a restaurant.

Actually, some architects and building owners forbid photography, for intellectual property reasons. Freedom of panorama (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_panorama) can be complicated.

Fun fact of the day: It is in violation of the law to publish a photo of the Eiffel Tower at night without permission, because the visual is under copyright.

A French court ruled in June 1990 that a special lighting display on the tower...was an "original visual creation" protected by copyright. The Court of Cassation, France's judicial court of last resort, upheld the ruling in March 1992. The Société d'exploitation de la tour Eiffel (SETE) now considers any illumination of the tower to be under copyright. As a result, it is no longer legal to publish contemporary photographs of the tower at night without permission in France and some other countries.


> were so different in France

Different as compared to what? Google “right to bear camera” and you will find many documented cases of policepersons, people in charge, and passersby harassing photographers, in cases photographers that were not using their equipment. These take place in countries that are otherwise considered civilized, all over the world.

Do you mean “different” as in “elsewhere, terrorism would have been invoked at some point”? http://photographernotaterrorist.org/

Clearly, he means "different as compared with the United States," where it's legal to photograph anything in a public space. But I get the sense you're itching for a fight about photographers' rights.

Although McDonald's isn't a public space, there would be several rungs in the ladder between "sir, you can't take photos in here" and a physical altercation.

>Clearly, he means "different as compared with the United States," where it's legal to photograph anything in a public space.

Despite this being the law, it can still get you in trouble with the police (in the US).

> In France you're not allowed to take pictures or movies of people without their consent.

"Droit à l'image" covers use, duplication and distribution of pictures of people, and only if said people can be identified on the picture. I don't know about any french law that forbids actually taking pictures of people in a public place. In a private area, there's Code Pénal, Art. 226-1, and even then, the law says that unless they explicitly disagree, their consent is assumed. Once the shot is taken, you don't have the right to publish the image without their explicit consent, and if no consent of publication is given, you can publish the image as long as people cannot be identified.

(FWIW one can take and publish pictures of goods to one's heart's content, provided it causes no harm)

> If you try to take pictures of strangers in the subway you will be heckled and possibly assaulted, and the police will do nothing to stop it.

There is no legitimate reason for a nearby police member not to try to stop someone physically assaulting someone else, whatever the reason of the assault may be. Their duty is to at least inquire into the situation.

> There is no legitimate reason for a nearby police member not to try to stop someone physically assaulting someone else

In France the photographer is considered the perpetrator. The police are more likely to help the people being photographed to not be photographed (if necessary, by taking the camera by force), than to protect the photographer. ("More likely" is an overstatement; the most likely behavior is that the police won't do anything either way).

> the most likely behavior is that the police won't do anything either way

Are you serious? So you say that in France, I can just beat up a random guy with a camera and claim that they tried to take a picture of me? And the police will just say "yeah, whatever, carry on. Need a stick?" Not very credible.

No he is not. He evidently does not have a clue about how the police and law work here in France.

Actually, the only situation when police really don't do anything, is when you come to them with petty crimes/misdemeanors and are unable of right away identify, or provide something to easily identify the offender. I've rarely seen the police not acting when evidences of identity are provided. Like in this case. If they didn't react... it's probably because the victim wasn't European... so taking on this case would be complicated and probably end in nothing. Because most often, when the victims are strangers the case tend to end in the trash after a while. And policemen don't like the idea of doing work for nothing. But they should do it. And act more often than not.

Note : Actually the Police may be doing something, but he OP don't know it. Because what's true about French policemen, is that they're horrible at communicating.

"Beat up", probably not. "Push around", probably yes.

Also, if it were done in front of a policeman, he may do something (or not -- if he's in charge of monitoring traffic he won't do anything about an altercation between pedestrians) -- but in most places there isn't any policeman.

If you go to the police after the fact and say that someone hit you in the face because you were taking a picture of them, then I guarantee you will elicit zero sympathy and will be made to wait a looong time before anyone writes down your complaint (which will go nowhere anyhow).

But of course circumstances matter; if you shoot people in the street then even policemen monitoring traffic will intervene; if someone cuts your arm in half because you were carrying a camera then the police will help!!

That sounds more like what I'm used to seeing. I guess the parent was being a little hyperbolic, or simply hastily generalizing what may be true for professional photographers (i.e. conspicuously pointing large gear in the face of people without asking for their permission). Even so, you'll find millions of your typical subway candid shots taken in Paris on the internet. I don't suppose all of these shots resulted in the photographer being assaulted in front of a consenting crowd.

As a fellow Frenchman I can confirm everything bambax said!

Maybe one other explanation for this incident is the amount of hidden camera documentaries airing on national TV recently. I can imagine these security agent being briefed to avoid at all costs having another Super Size Me shot at their location.

Can either of you explain why the French police does not get involved? It seems like vigilante justice would be something they'd want to stamp out.

In France, taking a picture of a stranger can be compared to entering his home, unannounced, and helping yourself with the content of his fridge.

The reaction can be mild "Hey, WTF??" to aggressive (being punched in the face).

In the US, if you go to the police saying "I entered this guy's home and took a Coke from his fridge, and next thing you know he punched me!! For a can of Coke!?! Can you believe that! Please arrest him!" the police will likely tell you "you're lucky you didn't get shot".

In France the photographer is considered the perpetrator. The police will not help him (and maybe worse if he insists...)

Also, "assault" is very different here than in the US; grabbing someone by the arm or pushing him around isn't considered assault (more like a disagreement).

That said, you can get very far with asking first: many people, if asked, won't mind being photographed (but you have to ask every person, and respect every decision, which would make the whole process pretty complex).

French student in law here. And you're so wrong it's painful to read. Police isn't acting, because damages are small, not a single ITT probably (ITT is the measure of personal damages in french law), little damage to a gadget, and the guy is not French, so the case will probably never go anywhere. That's probably why police didn't react. Not because he was considered the perpetrator... Actually the French law is totally permissive about taking photos. It's the publishing of those who may cause a problem... and even in that, the Cour de Cassation does not enforce it all the time, or with a regular severity. Maybe some persons don't like you taking photos of them. But you should not excuse them saying "it's cultural... we don't like it". No you're wrong, you don't like it, they don't like it, some people don't. Other don't give a fuck. And if you don't like it... it doesn't change a thing. It's totally legal to do it, so reacting like a douchebag is not only stupid but wrong. And actually, as described probably a felony.

And please the ... "Also, "assault" is very different here than in the US; grabbing someone by the arm or pushing him around isn't considered assault (more like a disagreement)." the description of what happened is not just "grabbing someone by the arm". But anyway you're wrong, because even in that situation, grabbing someone by the arm an pushing him around is quite exactly the main case of application of Article 222-13 of the Penal Code, under the condition n°8. And the Criminal Chamber of the Cour de Cass' has said millions of times that an actual physical assault is not needed to qualify assault (which in France is called 'violence volontaires'), but only a psychological one, or something that shocked emotionally someone is enough. So yeah... it's maximum 3 years and 45k€ in fine for each of the 3 perpetrators.

Oh, and by the way... if you think that punching a man in the face just because he entered your home without authorization and took a Coke is enough to justify legitimate defense your totally wrong. And you should go live in Florida with Mr. Zimmerman. No it's not. The legitimate defense of property (because the guy wasn't menacing you physically, just abusing your property require some details like : Asking the guy to drop the can and get the fuck out of your house before attacking him physically. And that the retaliation is proportionate. The punch, if soft, would pass this test. The gun certainly not, not for a Coke. And if you broke is nose and jaw, probably not.

Please everyone, do not take what anyone saying his french as an expert opinion on French society and French law (sadly, this also includes me).

I wasn't talking about the law, but about customs; and the letter of the law doesn't mean much anyways -- what matters is how it's enforced.

But according to the letter of the law you appear to be mistaken: article 222-13 of the Penal Code says the exact opposite of what you make it say.

Article 222-11 says that acts of violence resulting in more than 8 days of "ITT" (incapacité totale de travail) carry a penalty of up to 3 years in jail.

Article 222-13 says that acts of violence resulting in less than 8 days of ITT carry the same penalty if and only if they satisfy one of 18 special cases.

This means that acts of violence that

1/ result in up to 7 days of ITT (total work inability)

2/ do not satisfy any of the 18 special cases

don't carry any penalty AT ALL.


In plain English: if two adults fight and the fight doesn't result in one of them being unable to work for more than a week, then no one can be charged with anything.

Yeah, I know you're speaking of customs. But customs never should be used as an excuse for illegal behavior. Its like saying, yeah there was a lot of child abuse in the seventies, but it was the custom back then (I'm not comparing child abuse complacency and over-reaction to photography, I'm making a point about the structure of your argument).

And, plus, your lecture of the French customs is radically different from mine. I do not recognize myself and my compatriots in what your describing. Never saw someone react like your saying of photography. So maybe... you should remember that you're not Levi-Strauss, you just saying what you think about french... It's a commonplace your spreading like "French people are cocky and smell" or "Americans are stupid, you know that they don't believe in evolution". What you're describing is at most a fringe behavior. Neither you nor I are sufficiently aware of the inner complexity of French society (or American, of Papuan) to make so bold judgments. You say it's normal. I say it's not. Who's right ? I'm as French as you are, and no less expert than you (by no less I mean => Not at all). It's you say, I say. No solution for it.

Then you say that it's not about the letter of the law, but how it's enforced. Ahh, then we are coming to a matter that I know a little better than anthropology, see, because I actually had to deal with the police, I've spent time in prison (happily not as an inmate), I've studied law and you know... it's applications. Because, even if a lot of people think we keep our heads in the letter of the law, we actually spend a lot of time trying to understand what's actually the practice of it. And heck, I even had to go report some small felonies that against my very person, and not other people.* And what you're reporting as the "attitude" of the police, is pretty much what almost every layman think of them. Because most of the population despise the police, and think they're useless etc. etc. But you know what, It's not accurate. Yes there is some truth to it. Yes the police won't do all that the law ask them to do. Yes they do a lot of abuses (holy shit, a "PV d'arrestation" is some of the funnier readings you can find around, it's what I read when I need to take a break). And yes, you can come up with a lot of stories of people who had terrible experiences with them (but yeah you know what, no one who had good experiences with the police brags about it), and cases where the police did nothing about a serious case etc. etc. The French police tv series like PJ, Navarro, etc. are full of those. But, well, go to a tribunal, and look at the roll of cases you'll see that the second or third chief of accusation is "violences volontaires ayant entrainé une ITT de moins de 8 jours" (behind small drug related affairs and small theft). But you're right almost half the time it's not because of the 222-13 of the Penal Code. But under Art. R.625-1 of the same Code (section reglémentaire). It's a misdemeanor, fifth class. 3000€ of fine. It's not much... but you should not forget that the 21 special cases described in the 222-13 that transform the misdemeanor in a felony are really broad. And in the situation described, it is almost certain that the Special case n°8 is qualified (if more than one person participated in the assault, but there is a lot of special case so broad as : if the person was drunk or under effect of some drug, if the person acted upon premeditation, because of the race or sexuality, if the victim is an infirm, pregnant, old, under 15 etc). The Public Ministry knows how to make sure you can be arrested under the 222-13.

But, then anyway, even if you fall outside of the the 21 special cases, you can still have a financial penalty. And by the way, even if ITT has the word Travail in it (work) it has nothing to do with your work capacity (yeah I know, it's an horrible name, legal people are trying to change it to Total Temporary Incapacity)(heck, how would we measure it for babies?). It measures how your day-to-day life was affected. If your disturbed in your normal routine (be it crying all the day for mommy to clean your mess if your a baby) for a week, then you have an ITT of 7 days. But if your emotionally distressed for a week... it's the same. Even if you can still go to work. Anyway, as I said, is a standard measure used by doctors to communicate with the Justice. Break a jaw, and you've got 15 days. A nose ? Between 6 and 20 days. Bruises ? 3 days. Difficulties to sleep after the fight because of stress and nightmare ? between 2 and 10 days (depending on you capacity to lie to the doctor). Got two of those ? Sum it.

So yeah in a bar fight where you only end up with some bruises, no one is going to the jail. Only a 1000€ fine, and 500€ in damages most of the time. But a fight of 2 picking up on somebody ? Felony. And it's what we have there.

But why are you talking about this ? I thought you were all about how the laws are enforced and not the letter. Well, and you know what, based on what I've seen (Créteil/Bobigny) (and it's maybe anecdotal), those kind of cases clutter up the Tribunal de Police. Seriously. And to a lesser extent, the Tribunal correctionnel. And in a lot of those cases of "small" assaults, there was some kind of non-violent provocation. Of course if you punch someone in the face and get punched back, the case is not going to a tribunal, but if you say : Fuck you to some one and get a big punch in the face, you should go to the tribunal, your probably winning easily, not much, but still, somewhere a policeman will hear you and send your case to the Public Ministry, who will be pissed off, with this, but at least make a Rappel a la Loi if it's a misdemeanor.

So in this case, where there wasn't even a provocation in my understanding (but for you, it seems that all French people get mad at people taking photos), there is no reason not to follow up and pursue those 3 guys at MacDonalds. And from my experience, had he been French or at least European, the police would have (maybe they are and we do not know) (Well... if the story is true... obviously).

I've actually met a person in jail who had punched someone in the face, after being called son of a bitch, but the victim fell with his head against a chair and passed out for several hours. The perpetrator was in recidivism situation so he ended up with 6 month in prison.

In plain English : Please stop saying what things ARE. And start saying what you feel/think things ARE. Principally when you're speaking as if you where an expert, and mainly conveying "conventional wisdom" which most of the time is not totally accurate, to be kind.

PS : You should read the annotated version of the law, you know the 'Code Penal' Red Book by Dalloz, not just legifrance. Because legifrance does not have the jurisprudence, and analysis of articles and interconnections in the law.

> And yes, you can come up with a lot of stories of people who had terrible experiences with them (but yeah you know what, no one who had good experiences with the police brags about it)

That is exactly the reason why I always make a point of "bragging" about having a positive experience with the police. Which has been about 2 or 3 times (fire, mugging, and a local robbery I happened to witness). Glad to have them. Even though afaik they never caught those responsible for the last two, it's how they dealt with the victims that makes it count.

> Can either of you explain why the French police does not get involved?

Steve Mann says it was a factor of luck: "I also contacted the Embassy, Consulate, Police, etc., without much luck".

But IMO it could also be that he didn't have a clue what he was doing. What was he expecting to accomplish with the embassy or the consulate??

You're not going to have much "luck" with an embassy unless you're being arrested or personally held at the police station.

And you're not going to have much "luck" with a consulate unless you need assistance with formal documents regarding international relations such as passports, visas or permits for international trade.

And the police. Correct me if I'm wrong but if I'd be in New York City, say in a posh area near Wall Street, and I get into a scene in a McDonalds where somebody physically assaults me. I go to the NY police and try to explain, either in French or in broken English with a very thick French accent, how much "luck" do you think I would have?

I would go to the police for one thing and one thing only, which is to file a report so I can make an insurance claim. Because that's the only person who speaks your language and gets paid for helping you and has a 24/7 worldwide hotline: your travel insurance agent! Not to mention they have a lot of experience with exactly these kinds of troubles.

Especially if it's about damage to his important medical aid, which surely the same anonymous doctor that wrote the letter that supposedly explains he requires it for medical reasons, told him he might want to consider insuring separately before travelling abroad.

The same exact thing happens in Italy and Spain that I know. I believe the breeding ground is similar.

Also the employee-client relationship is radically different to what people in the US, Canada or UK are used to. Generally people are polite, but in case of any sort of conflict employees are protected and the client is assumed to be wrong and told to fuck off. As opposed to "the client always being right". There must be a middle ground somewhere.

> the employee-client relationship is radically different to what people in the US, Canada or UK are used to

The closest to France I've ever come was reading "Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong: Why We Love France but Not the French" ( http://www.amazon.com/Sixty-Million-Frenchmen-Cant-Wrong/dp/... ) and it made this point: in France, a store is considered an extension of the proprietor's home, and a customers is like a guest who has decided to drop in. He must first find the proprietor and introduce himself, and he must be on his best behavior.


...but it is entirely congruent with the point being made here.

I was in a McDonalds in Barcelona, Spain and watched the Americans in front asked to stop taking photos of the menu.

Wait what, how many UK shops do you go to?

I live in the UK. People in the UK get fired with a pat in the back. People in the continent cost a small fortune to fire unless they're under temp contracts.

Um that clearly isn't true. Temporary contracts may be less secure, but employees have considerable protections in the UK.

Considerable being a lot less still than the standard in the continent.

I prefer it here, by the way. I think the UK system is rather balanced.

The camera was not taking pictures because they were not stored.

Its is not the police's job to judge if anybody acted in self-defense or not, the job of the police is to show up(!) and restore order. Judges do the rest. Also in France.

Does this mean those places also ban people from using smartphones or normal cameras on the premises? There is no indications that Mann was actively taking pictures of strangers. And it would makes sense for a tourist to take pictures of his family at a restaurant. How are tourists normally treated when they try to take pictures of their vacation?

As I said above, you can take pictures of monuments, outdoors, and of people you know, indoors, where it makes sense (a restaurant, people at your table).

But if you try to take pictures of strangers -- anywhere -- you will generate a very aggressive reaction.

These rules are not written down so they're hard for strangers to understand; it's very possible for a tourist to feel photography is totally "free" in France when visiting tourist locations, and then find herself in the middle of a fight because she took her camera out of her bag at the wrong time in the wrong place (never in the subway for example!)

The funny thing with these kinds of "rules" / customs is that you internalize them; I can't even imagine myself taking pictures in the subway...

I was in France recently (Paris) and I took pictures all over the place with a very visible film camera - including on the train.

Of course I didn't go shooting strangers directly in their face. I think I'd you do that most anywhere people will get upset because what business do you have taking a close-up picture of a stranger without their permission? That's an intrusion just about anywhere.

At least in Paris, I found the city to be crowded with tourist snapping photos of everything. I didn't see anybody giving the slightest care. I had always imagined France to be a photo-friendly place considering the reverence for film and art and being the birthplace of photography. Perhaps I didn't see enough but, at least, it's hard for me to imagine people getting violent over photographs just based on my personal experience. Because with the amount of tourist taking pictures there would be blood running on the streets.

Out of curiosity, do your fellow countrymen not know that foreigners may not be aware of this cultural norm, or is it that they're indifferent?

I think this sentence is key:

> The funny thing with these kinds of "rules" / customs is that you internalize them; I can't even imagine myself taking pictures in the subway...

I've lived in several countries, and have inadvertently offended people in all of them. Well-travelled, educated people, who don't realise that some specific cultural norms are just that - cultural.

Why, are Americans, especially inside the two coasts, sensitive that foreigners may be not aware of their cultural norms?

The funny thing with these kinds of "rules" / customs is that you internalize them; I can't even imagine myself taking pictures in the subway...

I suppose a UK/US person would never consider it apporpriate to take photos in a bathroom for example.

I'm a US person, and on a recent trip in the US South took photos inside a (public) bathroom on more than one occasion, when I saw something entertaining. Not photos of people, of course, but there were other people in the bathroom on both occasions, and no one seemed shocked or worried.

I'm confused about how this aversion to cameras can possibly hold when nearly everyone is carrying one or more cameras at all times. Does everyone in Europe avoid using their smartphone except in the privacy of their own home? As cameras shrink and are built into pretty much everything, is this culture changing, or are products simply going to be built without cameras for the European market?

Not photos of people, of course

Exactly, "not of people (in the bathroom)". Would you take photos of people in a bathroom. If you're male, would you take photos of men at the urinal?

Does everyone in Europe avoid using their smartphone except in the privacy of their own home?

No of course not.

If you're male, would you take photos of men at the urinal?

I am male, and no, that would seem weird to me. On the other hand, I wouldn't feel that I could legitimately assault someone who was.

No of course [people don't avoid using smartphones in public]

You say "of course", but I can't figure out how universal cameras are consistent with a culture that fears cameras in public.

If a dozen people on a subway car are using smartphones (and therefore could be taking video or photos right now), how do others react?

Does the answer change when a dozen people are wearing Google Glass?

Also, why do people seem dismissive of questions like these? :)

When you're using a smartphone, you're usually pointing it towards the ground / 45° angle. You're not in a position to take good photographs of people. So others know you're not taking photos.

unless you hit record and then "check your voice mail"...

> I suppose a UK/US person would never consider it apporpriate to take photos in a bathroom for example.

Tell that to all the kids on Facebook ;-)

yes, basically if you use your smartphone to take a photo of a dish, they'll complain about it.

That's an exaggeration. I'm Belgian and recently went to France and took pictures of us enjoying our dishes. I didn't notice the personnel having an issue with that. So it is not a general rule.

But the spirit of bambax' and others' messages is true: in Europe, customer is not king and should behave in a way that pleases the shopkeepers or restaurant owners. This is more true the closer you are to the capital or the city's hot spot.

And more generally, one has to develop a sense of what is right in a particular place, not assuming that the same customs apply as in your home country. Americans don't have a good record at that, I'm afraid. As someone pointed out, you're bound to inadvertently offend people, but rushing into a place with a camera is a good way to start learning from your mistakes.

That being said, the violence displayed by this particular personnel is completely over the top and should not be tolerated, not by customers and not by law.

Depends, as always, on where you go; we avoid Paris like the plague (for assorted reasons, rudeness of owners is one of them), but in villages and small cities (south of france, belgium, netherlands, germany) I feel very much like a king. Especially if you speak the language.

> There is no indications that Mann was actively taking pictures of strangers.

Except for all the photos in the blog post.

If you actually read the post, you would see that the device would normally purge its buffer after it finished augmenting / vision processing those frames. Only because it was forcefully shut off was the data retained.

An angry rent-a-cop in the face of the person wielding the camera would not know this.

If you're willing to believe that via a malfunction he was able to get photos off, you've missed my point.

Its possible because they're there. Anything beyond that is arguing against the reality of the photos on the web page.

>They felt entitled to prevent the taking of pictures in the restaurant and felt they were being played with false official documentation.

I naturally assumed that if Mann was going to offer the documentation to defend his wearing of the special glasses, to someone in France, then he would have been prepared with a notarized official French translation (heck, he's from Canada...).

If he seriously tried to give English-only documentation -- and that was really his plan to convince people in France that his glasses were legit -- that seriously changes my opinion of the events.

He should not have needed papers at all to convince people of anything. Wearing this kind of glasses, or bearing a photo camera, in public places, like restaurants is totally legal.

And actually, official translation are horribly expensive.

You're right about not having to need them.

But as far as the translation goes, you can get forms for the country you're going to. That's how it was for Turkey, anyway. I don't know about France.

The form is multi-lingual (English/French/Turkish, in my case). The doctor fills in the forms and as long as he pays attention to the proper medical Latin words (and stamps it!) it should be fine. At least for border officials.

Still, from the lack of details in the blog post--he only refers to it as "a letter from my doctor"--whereas he painstakingly mentions every irrelevant detail in the story, I'm guessing that letter wasn't very complete, official, or even partially translated.

And while you are right that he shouldn't have needed it, trying to calm down an angry and aggressive French person by showing them a letter written in English is not very likely to improve the situation, and is indeed likely to get torn up in the process.

Which may not be right, but it's also not very smart.

He's from Canada, though. Don't they have English/French translators on every street corner, Toronto and eastward? :-P

You're not allowed to take pictures in a restaurant in France? Instagram is going to have a hard time catching on there.

Without further information I find this very hard to believe.

Laundering money through a fast food restaurant with a supply chain outside your control is a terrible idea. Franchises are required to purchase food centrally.

Q How much cash are you banking this week?

A 1,000,000 EUR

Q So you have sold 500,000 Big Macs.

A Yes

Q Can I see your invoices for 500,000 buns please?

The profit margin is not high enough for it to be worth ordering extra stock and throwing it out. The business would effectively be paying about 70% tax. That's not digestable, even to launder cash.

More plausible reasons: Running a McDonalds franchise and significantly and systematically under-reporting revenue using unauthorised suppliers. But to involve low-level staff would seem unlikely.

This isn't exactly covert surveillance. Some bored member of staff just didn't like the look of this American weirdo with a video camera for an eye, a piece of paper that he waves around and an attitude that he is entitled to buffer everything he sees anywhere in the world and then publicly blame an entire multinational for a minor, local incident. (Not my perception, but I think it likely that it was theirs.)

Whether it's money laundering or underreporting revenues, the implication is that something is awry at this McDonalds. The author is probably doing McDonald's Corp. a service by contacting them. They should address it, immediately.

Precisely. You could also put a kilo of cocaine into a cane or walker. Yet, assaulting every older/disabled person using such would be downright criminal.

Assaulting anybody is downright criminal in most jurisdictions.

They do it by withholding ketchup and other condiments. ;)

I'm almost serious, because I was in this exact McDonald's in 1998 (I'm not making this up) and was verbally abused for asking for more than the provided two packets of ketchup.

In their defense, it was Bastille Day and more than a little bit crazy in there.

So far as I am aware, turning illicit money into legitimate money at 30 cents on the dollar would be an excellent deal.

There are stories of people in the drug trade in Mexico having rooms in their houses full of cash that they cannot otherwise dispose of.

Laundering is more often 15 percent. It might go up or down based on the local market, but ex-USA has the highest price I've heard of. Once the money was in France, I'd predict more like 5-10 percent, since the hardest step (initial; moving bulk cash out in the USA thanks to effective AML controls these days) is a lot easier in Europe (fly, boat to North Africa, or drive over relative open or at least "friendly" land borders in the East and Southeast.)

Usually for businesses you use nail salons, tanning, etc which have high labor and service components to price, vs. materials.

>The profit margin is not high enough for it to be worth ordering extra stock and throwing it out.

You wouldn't have to throw it out. Sell it on to other businesses.

Sounds more Canadian to me

Dr. Steve Mann, PhD (MIT '97), PEng (Ontario), 330 Dundas Street West Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5T 1G5.

Actually, there was a well known Mcdonald's franchisee who had stores in the dozens who was later found out to have laundered millions through it. I don't have the case handy, but he was in what is generally known as the American South. It's hard to say what Mcdonald's region he was in, because they mix up their regions about every couple of years, and he ran stores in multiple states.

Cups and soda would be far, far more capital efficient.

I think you just showed us a glimpse of the future...

Get a burger with an extra meat patty in it. Money laundering.

unless they sell it all in soda. it's the highest profit margin you can find at such places.

but yeah, i don't think this is the best explanation. But now i can't stop picturing Ronald macdonald sitting at some backroom like vitor corleone.

I think that fails Ockham's razor.

I worked for Steve Mann about 15 years ago. Calling him the father of wearable computing is an understatement -- he was the father before it was even possible to create, and yet managed to make it happen essentially on his own a decade or more before it should have existed -- the JFK Apollo of wearables out of his own pocket.

However, he is probably not the least suspicious person when dealing with stupid rule following automatons -- a true hacker in that way. If anyone could make slightly scared and overly paranoid security guys worried, it is probably Steve. Super friendly if you engage with him, but not going to err on the side of social graces over pushing tech forward.

I am pretty sure this was an honest ignorant understanding by some worried people and sort of emphasized out of proportion -- I remember a similar incident at Boston Airport.

Tearing up someone's documentation is never an "honest ignorant understanding by some worried people".

Dr Mann also says P1 "angrily grabbed my eyeglass, and tried to pull it off my head", which is also not consistent with an honest mistake.

More likely started as reasonable concern (or at least plausibly understandable), compounded with ignorance and machismo into stupidity and wrongness.

McDonalds should apologize, but I don't think it was a conspiracy.

The incident at Logan airport was big news in Boston in 2007. It involved an MIT undergraduate wearing a piece of art on the front of her shirt that consisted of a circuit board and LED attached to a battery. It freaked out some airport staff, and the Massachusetts State Police came very close to shooting her:


Different incident from the Steve Mann airport incident. I actually think the Star Simpson incident was caused by her bring really clueless about how paranoid airport security are, getting a dumb guy scared, and then being as rude to security as many civil libertarians can be. (Star is also a friend of mine, and I think she is a lot less likely to almost get killed by security now too :)

I don't understand the benefit to ever being anything but polite to suthority, even while resisting (legally or beyond legally, depending on how important the issue is to you). I "opt out" of rapescans all the time, and am polite, and the whole interaction goes fairly well. (I think it is security theater, but invasive pat downs aren't always inappropriate; just when there is not enough benefit. I'd draw that line as search incident to arrest based on RS and PC developed normally -- just being a passenger on a flight doesn't make you all that much more likely to be a terrorist). Protest in court, in congress, on the Internet, and during the incident, but don't be threatening or rude.

Whenever the Star Simpson incident comes up, I'm surprised how quick people are to blame her. From the accounts I've read, I don't thing she did anything wrong, or even suspicious. (Contrary to reports, the "suspicious substance" in her had was a hardened clay sculpture, not something that could be reasonably mistaken for a block of explosive.)

Since you say she's a friend of yours and might know more details, I'm curious what you think she did wrong.

When airport security told her to jump, she neglected to ask, "How high?"

That's funny how wires + blinking led => detonator, something you knead in your hand => C4, cute youg girl with bleached hair => suicide bomber

Osama achieved million times more than what he would have dreamed of.

But this McDonald's is located at 140, Avenue Champs Élysées! It is arguably the one at the most prestigious location in the whole France. This is just one block away from the Arc de Triomphe, on Paris's most famous avenue. I have eaten there myself: http://goo.gl/maps/ofMu

I highly doubt it is a front for a shady business. It would be like claiming the Apple store next to Central Park, New York City, is a front...

Exactly. I think there are several other equally plausible explanations as to why this particular McDonald's would have security to prevent video surveillance.

It is also next to a number of the finest luxury retailers in the world...

... customers of which are highly unlikely to ever wander into a McDonalds, regardless of its location.

I was actually suggesting they were protecting the neighbors from a potential highly sophisticated criminal mastermind casing the joint to conduct an Ocean's 11 style vault heist of the property next door by drilling through the wall, but I didn't know how to communicate that ;)

I agree. Rich folks don't go to McDonalds too often. However in Europe the brand is perceived a bit differently

The US middle to upper class generally seems to look down at McDonalds as being a place where the poor, fat, or simply lazy go to eat. That's just not the case in other countries.

I can only speak for Paris and Tokyo, and the very upper class may not eat there, but nobody else has a problem with it. It's not just American tourists keeping them in business.

You are taking it out of context. Point being that no celebrity worthy of videotaping would ever be spotted at McDonalds. So their crackdown on video cameras is unrelated to the proximity to the luxury shopping area.

If a customer was treated like this in an Apple store, you wouldn't call it a front, but it would be really strange. If a customer was treated this way in an Apple store, and Apple franchised their stores, and the owner of the franchise controlled the staffing, the argument would be valid. Apple and McDonald's can't really be compared the same way in the context of Paul's suggestion.

So if we swap around a few of the particulars -- say, make the guy with the camera black, relocate the scene to the deep South, and then make the three perpetrators good old boys -- a fairly plausible hypothesis would rush to mind, even if it is outside the experience of the typical white American at the typical McDonalds. Mafia fronts certainly exist in the world, but they are probably greatly outnumbered by petty people who, given authority over someone they dislike (+), would abuse it if it were consequence-free.

+ It isn't even necessary to assume that the language barrier or anti-Americanism had anything to do with it. I mean, even in the deep South, a good old boy might try to rip a prosthesis off a black guy's head just because he doesn't like "weird Treky shit."

You could also get a plausible explanation if you make the three employees drug-addled miscreants and the man with the glasses a vulnerable woman carrying and displaying large amounts of cash and the setting a back alley in Dubai.

This story is strange precisely because it is not a scenario where an explanation springs to mind. People are known to be petty and cruel to the point of assault, but people who are employees of a company like McDonald's in a city like Paris are not.

Just so we are all on the same page, the males look of distinct North-African extraction - Algerian, Moroccan, Egyptian or Libyan.

Just so we're all on the same - very ignorant - page, are you talking race in 2012? Come on, todays French are a big mix of whatever. This mix is what is French.

It happened at few times too me that I experienced quite a 'macho' or aggressive behaviour 'from people of those cultures'. What would you expect, just be quiet?

This getting ridiculous.

I've experienced aggressive behaviour from a lot of white Australians. Should I make a judgement of the entire population based on those anecdotal experiences?

Aggression is everywhere, it has very little to do with your cultural heritage unless you're a bloody Spartan.

If you want don't want to be quiet about your racial prejudices, go find a forum for it. There should be plenty of mindless goons out there willing to discuss it with you. Try the youtube comments section.

"it has very little to do with your cultural heritage unless you're a bloody Spartan."

The fact that you acknowledge that there exists a culture whose adherents are more prone to be adversarial means you accept OP's point.

No, it means my example is the exception, not the rule. Nice try.

What's more likely: There is only one or few exceptions to the rule and it's binary or there is a continuum.

It's France. They're French.

There are a lot of Moroccans in Paris, from what I understand. Wasn't that what those riots a few years back were about? The Moroccans immigrating but not integrating?

Well, the more people wonder whether French of Moroccan extraction really are French or Moroccan, the less French they are.

I'm French, of no extraction. Please stop. French of Moroccan extraction are French.

Regarding the riots, that's also not relevant to the discussion but because you ask, those riots where the results of 40 years of bad policies, social rejection and latent racism.

Although I agree with you on principle, most Moroccans in Europe identify as Moroccan first and French/Dutch/Belgian second.

Also, since they are not "allowed" to disavow their Moroccan nationality, virtually all Moroccans remain Moroccan, even in later generations.

Lots of British people consider themselves British first, European second. Or Welsh people consider themselves Welsh first, British second. People from Catalonia, may not consider themselves Spanish. Someone born in Ireland to Irish parents, but lived all their life in England might consider themselves Irish, not English.

Europe. It's a melting pot, always has been. There are lots of flexible definitions of nationality.

Its not useful to include the British to imbue some meaning to the conversation. I single out British because although they claim to a governance described as unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy they have some of the most decidedly backward understandings on race (esp race-based-class), ethnic origins (Highlanders vs rest), religious denominations (Protestant-Catholic strife) & the concept of nationhood in all of the western world. For such a modern society their outlook on these matters is striking and confused. For a nation that made its business to civilize more than half the world at one time, she shows some forbiddingly contradicting understandings on these matters.

Wow, you're kind of on a roll here.

> their outlook on these matters is striking and confused

Specifically are you referring to the outlook of politicians, the media, or some other entity? I know you started with 'the British' but surely you're not making sweeping generalisations about the 60 million people who live in the UK. That would be a wee bit racist don't you think?

It's not their identity but their nationality that is seen as an issue by the op.

Identity in social science is a complex matter and trying to attack it with "most" is at best inaccurate. Please read the article on identity negotiation which will shed light to the picture.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identity_negotiation

PS: I'm not RTFM-ing you, it's just a topic that I'm not qualified to address myself, even though I know it's complex.

huh. I thought that France didn't have birthright citizenship like the US has. I thought they had a system more like what some of the more radical right wing parties in the US want, where your parent's status has something to do with it, you know, to prevent 'anchor babies.' Hm. According to the wikipedia[1], it's complicated, and I strongly suspect I'm missing some things. It looks to me like they have a 'right of blood' system until you reach the age of majority, then something a little more like a 'right of soil' system after that. I don't know about everyone, but I started working rather before I reached the age of majority. I mean, I wouldn't have starved, but my education would have been severely dampened if i was not able to get legal work until I was 18.



>It's quite simple actually : you're french if you're born on french soil or if one of your parents was french.

according to the wikipedia (which, of course, is not always correct) that is not an or but an and (at least, until the age of majority.) Even assuming that the wikipedia is correct in this case, there is a big difference between automatically gaining citizenship on your 18th birthday, and having a 'path to citizenship' and I have no idea where France is on that continuum.


Well, it has changed a lot, but you've got it. The Code civil articles 19 to 19-4 states that you are not French by birthright. If you were born in France, you become French at the age of 18 (automatically, no question asked) if you have lived at least 5 years (no need to continuity) in France since you're 11 (21-7 Code civil). And you can renounce to your french nationality in the 12 months after the automatic acquisition (until your 19 or the moment at which you join the military). For now, there is some shit about "path to citizenship" in the French law... but it's for adults asking the French nationality.

But, you can ask for the French nationality before, as early as the age of 13, if you lived there the 5 preceding years. The difference is the automaticity, at 18 it's automatic, before that it's on request.

And under 18, everyone has more or less the same rights, not withstanding the nationality.

In America, many of what I would call the far right are advocating a similar system whereby you aren't granted citizenship at birth if your parents are not citizens, but gain it later on in order to fight "anchor babies" - the idea being that right now, if you are "undocumented" and you have a kid on US soil, the kid is an American right away, and sure, if you are a citizen, your mom can stay and take care of you, and as part of that, your mom gains a reasonable path to citizenship. (US immigration policy seems to be centred around uniting families.)

My reading of the French law makes it look like it would solve this "problem" as the kid isn't french, so you can deport the kid and their parents. Out of curiosity, am I reading that right? that if two undocumented immigrants have a kid and the authorities deport the newborn and the parents and manage keep them out of the country until the kid is 18, the kid is not french at all, even though she was born on french soil?

You are actually right, the European take on immigration is awfully right winged when compared to American... It's due to the way these nations built themselves. US is a country of immigration, it literally constructed itself upon it. While Europe is a place of emigration, immigrants always were looked upon as strangers lurking around. But France also being a latin country, kept something of the Right of the Soil, mixed with the Right of the Blood from northern and eastern European people.

So it's quite bastard... problematic.

Your reading is quite unfortunately not totally correct. A child born or not in France is in theory undeportable, even if their parents are from Mars or undocumented (which seems to be the same to some people...). Actually, under 18 it's impossible to be undocumented... because there is no document to authorize a child to live in France, they all have naturally this right. No visa, nothing.

EXCEPT (there always a fucking horrible exception), if you came into France without requesting a Visa (that is not needed... but you must request it... go figure...) and entered France coming from another state of the European Union (thanks EU for your horrible immigration law). Then the kid can be sent back to the EU country he came from... which is free to deport the kid if the law of this country allow it. (Well except if he came into France without parents... then he is not deportable again).

But then the worse is to come. If the parents are undocumenteds... well, their kid is not deportable... but they are. It's been a long time France dealt with the "anchor babies"... and in the most hypocrite way. So the parents have a choice : Go with their children, or abandon their children... I kid you not. And I let you imagine what most of parents end up deciding... And no, the answer is not what most fox news talk show hosts would think, since they think that these parents only have those children to have documents. It's sad... but we have problems with the far right since much longer than you... the damage they've done to our law is staggering.

So the final answer is yes. A kid of undocumenteds born in France, can be deported (""""at his parents choice""""), and then he will not be able to respect the 5 years requirements, and not be French at all.

I hope the actual administration is going to change something about that... but well.. I know the won't.

Another interesting fact is how France borders Brazil.

my point is that without birthright citizenship, the whole "who is french" thing has... more to do with "extraction" than an American might think.

(Of course, the next guy down says I'm wrong about the French citizenship rules, which I may be, of course.)

  > the more people wonder whether French of Moroccan
  > extraction really are French or Moroccan, the less
  > French they are
I'm not saying that it's right to try and exclude them. It's just as stupid as the people in American that want to shutdown immigration to 'dirty foreigners' (forgetting that their ancestors were 'dirty foreigners'). Someone that was originally from Morocco shouldn't be consider 'less French' than someone whose ancestors have been in France for generations, but you can't force this to happen by pretending that people have no past (i.e. country of origin).

Maybe the term 'French-Moroccan' has bad cultural connotations in France that you're trying to get rid of by burying the term, but the term itself, or the facts surrounding it are not inherently bad. If someone is "Chinese-American" or "Japanese-Canadian" or "Mexican-American", the term doesn't make them any less American/Canadian.

  > Regarding the riots, that's also not relevant to the
  > discussion but because you ask, those riots where the
  > results of 40 years of bad policies, social rejection
  > and latent racism.
I only bring up the riots with respect to where I got the information that Paris has a large French-Moroccan population.

The "country of origin" is very debatable. I consider myself Uruguayan because I was born here, but my great-grandparents were German. However, someone in Tuscany was asked, and he said "my family has only been here for four centuries". Should someone like Zidane be considered French, or "French of Algerian extraction"?

By the tuscanian's perspective, there are no Americans, only "American of Irish extraction" and so on, while over here we all consider ourselves Uruguayans.

Something you don't understand is that those terms ("Chinese-American") are an US cultural thing.

Many of my fellow countrymen (I'm from Uruguay) are extremely shocked when they go to the U.S. ... we've learned about at most 3 races, and you people have 16 !!! One of my teachers likes an anecdote where, when filling a form at San Diego University, he had to ask the clerk what "race" he was - the clerk decided he was "Hispanic", and then there was a sub-category "White Hispanic" or "Black Hispanic". However, he's descendant from Spaniards and probably the exact same racial composition as racists from California that despise "hispanics" (there was a genocide here in Uruguay and we don't have native blood, we're all descendants of spaniards, italians and other european countries, plus some descendants of slaves).

> San Diego University

Which? We have several, none of which is called "San Diego University."

University of San Diego (http://www.sandiego.edu)

I didn't realize that changing it to San Diego University would change its meaning, sorry (and I didn't realize you had more than one either).

I don't know which form he filled, but I found plenty on Google:



etcetera, etcetera.

> It's just as stupid as the people in American that > want to shutdown immigration to 'dirty foreigners' > (forgetting that their ancestors were 'dirty foreigners').

That is a gross mis-characterization of the American attitude on immigration. Americans don't want to "shut down" immigration. We Americans take pride in our diversity of heritage and our openess to those who want to come to our country and be an American. Our objection is to people who come here illegaly. We object to those who come here and thumb their nose at the law, draw benefits from our government (and therefore depriving legal citizens of those benefits) and overwhelm our system.

The reason I or anyone else would have, to bring up their ancestry is because of the apparent disconnect between the essential Frenchness one expects and the consistently abrasive conduct of some of these implanted peoples. Take Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad for example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCXtmmj7fJc Isolated incident? Perhaps. Not part of a larger trend? Maybe. After all the cake and watermelon, we know that it doesn't add up. We all want to pretend that it ain't what it really is. Just like we find ourselves aghast at Marine Le Pen picking up enough seats to front the third largest party in all of France in well under a decade.

For insults, please refer to the other comment at the same level (which I upvoted and support).

I'll go even further and state that people like you are responsible for the situation. I live abroad and can tell you that latent racism kills all the respect I could otherwise have for Thai people. I'm not silly so I'll move back to France in the coming months (as a direct result of the above). Unfortunately for them, French of foreign extraction don't have the opportunity I have. I'd forgive them if they burnt the bulk of Paris: they are human beings and are being bullied by a society as a whole.

"Essential Frenchness"? What does that even mean?

What The Actual Fuck?

HN is no place for a racist dick. Kindly fuck off.

[edited to add - I expect downvotes or even a ban for my language. I will find a way of coping with my grief, so don't worry about it]

It's also no place for gratuitously throwing around words like fuck and dick. Try extending your vocabulary.

What does the size of one's vocabulary have to do with whether you use expletives?

Sorry, I know this is off-topic, but I've never really understood the "only uneducated people use swearwords" argument.

I'd take it to mean the size of one's vocabulary in practice, not just the words s/he knows. There's obviously still no necessary implication that a swearer's vocab usage is worse than that of a non-swearer.

Strict logic aside, though, I've anecdotally observed that folks who swear publicly among people they don't know tend to swear easily and often, and given the inherent flexibility of most swear words, I think it's fair to say increased usage usually takes a toll on eloquence and creativity in diction. The relationship isn't necessary, but it's intuitive and observably common.

Interesting ideas, but I'm not convinced by your last point.

Amongst the people I know who swear with reasonable frequency, I don't see any correlation with lack of eloquence. Indeed, I can think without trying very hard think of published authors, professional screenwriters and famous Shakespearean actors who would fit into the "uses profanity reasonably casually" description.

Oh, I don't mean swearing and eloquence are mutually exclusive.

But eloquence isn't binary; it lives on a gradient. Where there's a common, monosyllabic, four-letter word, it could be displacing another with a fair likelihood of being more interesting.

In fact, I'd argue your Shakespearean actors are far more likely to be making a compromise than an ineloquent person who'd otherwise drop the modifier or use a simplistic alternative.

So they're not rendered ineloquent as people, of course; but less eloquent than they'd be without that crutch.

Some educated people reel in horror at the thought that they aren't all that different from normal people aside from the number of things they've crammed into their head.

Whatever "Essential Frenchness" is, it most certainly is not centered around the milieu of the "beur". We agree that visitors don't come to France to be greeted by the likes of Galliano but they don't come looking for the likes of Salafists like Mohammed Merah either. Get your act together before its too late. You can only sweep these things under the rug for so long.

There's only one thing I'm sure of. Visitors coming to France certainly don't visit to meet your likes.

Certainly they prefer to be friendly accommodated guests in a Parisian McDonalds... (not that I find it a good idea to eat in McDonalds at all, especially when having the option of French cuisine..;)

Spent 2 weeks in France. The first week was spent partaking in the various options of French cuisine. With that first week being torturous, the second week was spent eating at McDonalds. At least the McD's there sells beer. :)

What I find elusive is this polite society's fevered need to stomp down any finger-pointing in the direction of certain sections of society. If one were to take a look at their irrational phobia of discussion concerning these sensitive topics it would appear that this brand of furiousness at the very mention of something disagreeable is nothing but an outward veneer to fend off further pointed & valid accusations. It's weak weaponry. It shows you're on tenuous ground. It almost always indicates that you're defending the indefensible. That you're arguments are at best propped up by popular sentiments and not by objective observations. That anything found objectionable by the educated segments of a society is necessarily odious despite the facts.

'Valid accusations'? You gave an example of one person being obnoxious and used it to condemn all others of the same origin. It is profoundly unscientific and illogical to build an argument the way you have.

Essentially you are admitting that you are racist and tired of being dismissed as such. You mention that our points are baseless and ignore tangible facts (which you have by the way failed to provide) and I'd like to bring to your attention that this is basically what racists are commonly accused of.

I would like you to understand that when in doubt and facing two choices one should always prefer what favours human beings over any sort of ideology or other minor consideration; no matter the price (I mean it this way).

But I find your way of reversing things funny and will dismiss you as being a troll and wish you good luck on your road. It's certainly a difficult one.

cultural translation: There's a lot of Africans in the USA, isn't there some trouble with them not integratating into the mainstream culture? :P

The closer comparison would be to say that there are a lot of Iraqis in Dearborn, or Vietnamese in Mississippi.

Though there are also many French of Algerian extraction.

I'm of South African 'extraction', but you wouldn't know unless you asked me.

I don't see how it's relevant.

Do they? How can you tell with their face obscured?

I took this picture in a Paris McDonalds about 2 weeks ago (near the Hotel de Ville, not the Champs Elysees location): http://cl.ly/image/1g1b3Q0j152V

Notice that the employee is covering her face. She yelled at me after I took the pic - "you can't take pictures here!". Why was she upset? Well in my case the girl covering her face in the pic was very pretty, I took it that she might be a fashion model or aspiring actress. When I ordered her co-worker was very pretty as well and was wearing what was obviously a wig.

Just a hunch, but the Paris McDonalds might offer their employees protection against cameras from tourists to protect the identity of their employees.

Edit: also found this article, this case does not seem to correlate with my hunch - motivated by menus / prices: http://www.pixiq.com/article/woman-claims-she-was-assaulted-...

Not sure if there is anything to this, but from what I've heard, privacy laws in France are more strict than in the US, for example. That's in theory, in practice, not many people actually care. On the other hand, some do.

Also, in theory, if you shoot with a tripod, you would need to obtain permission from a ministry somewhere, but in practice, you will seldom get bothered by the police.

In any event, photographing people in public places in France will get you more dirty looks than they would in London or NYC, for example --even if most times you will not get any reaction.

Look up Droit d'image, as it concerns France.


> even if most times you will not get any reaction

Oh yes you will. They will shout at you and some may try to take your camera.

Lots of people would be upset if you took their photograph without asking. It's a bit discourteous.

I have never met any of these people; not at events, not at parties, not on vacation (to numerous countries). Where are these 'lots of people' besides at McDonalds France apparently? Most people I know would 'strike a pose' when someone takes a picture, even if they don't know the someone.

Note; I don't take pictures, but to get upset about it; isn't that a bit over the top? You could kindly ask to refrain but actually spend energy and get upset for something so unimportant.

If you're at a party or event, having people take pictures is often expected (but not always) and so people will not generally have a problem with it. If someone happens to catch you while taking a general street scene or on the beach, its expected you might end up in their photo.

But if someone pulls a camera and specifically aim it at you, on the other hand?

I'd be pissed off too, as it is something that I'd see as extremely rude for someone to specifically target me for pictures without informing me about why they are targeting me specifically. But I've never had it happen, nor have I've been around other people who have had it happen to them, exactly because in the parts of Europe I've spent most of my life, it's pretty much considered totally unacceptable. People who want to take pictures of specific people generally do come up and ask.

Depending on context I might very well confront them about why they were doing it, and might very well be quite angry.

> Note; I don't take pictures, but to get upset about it; isn't that a bit over the top? You could kindly ask to refrain but actually spend energy and get upset for something so unimportant.

It's highly culturally and contextually dependent. If someone starts taking pictures of you specifically in the street somewhere where taking pictures of strangers is considered unusual and rude, there's every reason to wonder why someone is prepared to break strong social norms to single you out and somehow don't want to ask you first.

If you're somewhere where everyone expects to be photographed, on the other hand, and the typical purpose is known, most people will happily accept it, or stay away.

I see what you mean, but still, it wouldn't upset me unless he/she is a stalker and I find him/her taking pics of me on regular basis singling me out. For just a one time snap in the street specially focused at me by a complete stranger I wouldn't even think twice about it. It happened to me in southern/middle america countries as i'm really big and bearded so in the middle of Guatemala city I would attract attention.

But why would you be pissed off exactly? I mean I understand you don't 'like it', but why the strong emotion. EU people are pretty open minded (I'm from the EU) and I am just surprised about the emotion level here. Whether I 'agree' or not; it seems so overkill.

You need to try this stunt in France then because you are totally misguided about "most people." I've had scared reactions from people in front of me just for looking at my own camera's pictures.

The climate in France is that people should not get photographed without their permission. Even further, some claim that taking photos of their house is too much. So the whole atmosphere is a by-default hostility to photographers, which should be extra careful.

There's a lot of money-laundering fast food franchises. I remember a KFC in Baltimore where the skeleton crew that manned it were barely familiar with the menu, and maintained a largely empty parking lot at all times in what I would imagine to be prime chicken-flogging real estate (it was my neighborhood.)

They got a bit of unwanted attention a few years after I moved away when a junkie died in the single-occupancy bathroom and nobody noticed for three days.

edit: found it - http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2000-12-19/news/0012190192_...

But why would the Mafia care if you took photos? Money laundering would happen behind the scenes, in the accountants office.

Definitely agree that something is shady though. Not sure what, but this reminds me of a recent article on 'The Big Mac' index, which is used as an alternative measure of inflation. Perhaps McDonald's is under orders by the French government to prevent people from taking photos of their menus (and consequently their burger prices) to hide serious inflation problems. ;)

On a side note, if you are going to be in Paris on vacation, the food capital of the world, why the hell are you eating at McD's?

France's McDonald's operates like an entirely different restaurant [1].

[1] http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/01/24/145698222/why-mc...

it's not a 'French McD' thing. There are also McCafes in Berlin and I believe lots of other places, they are not regular McDonalds and they oparate aside existing 'normal' McD restaurants. The one on Kurfurstendamm in Berlin is a friendly cozy place filled with books and vintage pictures, nice place to sit for a few minutes just like any other cafe. Nearby there is the classic burger-smelly McD with long queues.

> why the hell are you eating at McD's?


all the more reason to avoid the hole: why would such a smart guy take kids to ESAD?

But why would the Mafia care if you took photos? Money laundering would happen behind the scenes, in the accountants office.

In order to launder money you need to pretend you have more customers than you do have. A good way for the police/tax man to catch you is to record your business to prove that you don't have that many customers.

Surely the police could find a better way to do it than send in a guy with a camera-eye for lunch one time?

Franchise restaurants are terrible avenues for money laundering because of all the internal controls put in place by the parent company. Cash registers are linked directly back to central servers under control of the parent company, so that the franchisee does not gain an opportunity to skim on the revenue share that is passed back up.

The same tight controls put in place by the parent org to assure they receive their full revenue share, and so that they can monitor store sales, inventory demand, and all the other good things that come with instant centralized sales info etc. etc. also prevent money laundering as a side effect.

Further, both McDonalds stores on the Champs-Elysees are corporate owned and operated. McDonalds in France has a high rate of corporate store ownership and operation compared to other countries (20% in France compared to 15% globally) because of a previous bad experience with the national franchisee (it was fought out in a court battle[1]) and that store being a marquee store for the brand in Europe.

My only theory as to why this happen is that the staff were confronted with a situation that they were not accustomed to dealing with and that caused them to react poorly. McDonalds is a highly controversial company and because of their profile they are constantly being targeted by individuals, groups and the media (see 'supersize me', 'fast food nation', 'mclibel' etc.). The security at this store may have mistaken this visitor, who had a camera attached to his glasses which could be considered 'hidden', with somebody who was looking to expose the restaurant in some way.

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/1988/06/12/business/mcdonald-s-tries-...

In high school I worked in a McDonalds. There was actually a poster in the back that said cameras were not allowed on the property. This was around the time of 'Supersize Me'.

I don't remember exactly what the instructions said employees were supposed to do. I believe it was asking people to leave and refer them to McDonalds corporate PR for requests to take pictures. It definitely didn't say assault them.

Clearly these guys were acting way outside of what McDonalds intended for them to do, but I think McDonalds' silly 'no cameras' policy might have incited them.

Those policies seem to be so that journalists don't go taking pictures on their own, but go through PR channels.

Seems rather tin-hatty. Is it not more likely that, being next to L'Arc de Triomphe, they simply have extra security for anti-terrorism purposes, and that's why they attacked the guy who was recording everything? I recall a similar incident at Disneyland after 9/11.

These guys even look like private security contractors, and their actions are more easily explained by the mindset endemic in that field than by criminal conspiracy.

It's not an ordinary McDonald's; it's the McDonald's in Paris next to the Arc de Triomphe. Given its location next to one of Paris's largest tourist attractions, it probably serves a much larger number of customers per day than most other McDonald's locations, and it's a potential target for anti-American sentiment. These could both be reasons for enhanced security, although I'm not sure why they'd mind cameras. (OTOH, I'm also not sure why they'd mind cameras if it were a mafia front, since presumably all of the illegal things happen behind closed doors.)

Are you enacting Poe's law? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poes_law

I seriously cannot tell, and you didn't wink at the end?

Since McDonald's are easily franchise-able, I suppose they could legitimately be used as a Mafia Front... But really, Poe's Law? wink ;)

This is what came to my mind as well. I can't decide whether or not the comment is supposed to be serious.

On one hand, I can't think of many above-board reasons that a restaurant employee would tackle you for having a tiny camera, or rip up medical documentation. On the other hand, the jump straight to a mafia seems a leap too far. Yet if we are going to speculate, I don't see a criminal explanation as significantly more plausible than others.

To demonstrate one of my own: Perhaps they'd recently had a bad rating/inspection from the French/Parisian health department (replace with proper name), and were really worried about some undercover story by local news stations. A bit extreme to use physical intimidation, but perhaps the manager is on the verge of losing the place?

Three other ideas:

What about French laws related to health (are they like NYC and trying to enforce health policy through food ingredient restrictions?) Could that be something they would not want getting out by accident?

What about French labor or immigration law? Could there be some violation that they didn't want documentary evidence of?

McDonald's as a corporation protects the intellectual property of their operations with great effort (but usually in the court of law--as when a manager might try to start their own burger place using the official playbook). Not sure what competitive advantage he could get from a few minutes in the store, though.

But all of these really hinge on the employees thinking that the wearer a) wasn't a government official or inspector (confrontation would just bring more heat and/or b) that the wearer was of lower or weaker status. Mall cop enforcing a poorly understood "no pictures of the mall" policy over-zealously seems like the most likely case--maybe rooted in anti-terrorism paranoia.

(Or else maybe the guy made the mistake of ordering a Royale with Cheese and these employees were not Tarantino fans...)

Most sensible explanation so far. It accounts for why they would be worried about hidden, automatic cameras much more than the ones regular tourists have, where you can see when they're taking a picture or getting a good video angle. Also, most tourists don't take pictures of what's going on behind the counter, so you can catch someone trying to overtly do that, but a hidden camera would make that harder to spot, leading management to be more paranoid about built-in cameras.

On top of that, "concern about the health department" has a much higher prior probability than "mafia collusion with major fast food chain".

What does strike me as odd is that it seems pretty likely that a McDonald's at tourist central would have to have a lot of pictures taken of it and in it and around it. It seems like that wouldn't even come close to being unusual.

Granted, not usually by someone with the camera literally attached to his head.

I thought I was saying the same thing: that yes, tourists are expected to be everywhere at the McDonald's, taking pictures, but if they start to do it in a strange way (i.e., target the "boring" stuff in the kitchen), or have stuff that looks like a hidden camera, then management may freak out.

Page is down, but doesn't Occam's Razor handle this situation adequately? He ran into a random violent asshole. It can happen anywhere at any time to anyone.

I like this explanation too. What's odd though is the other accounts of similar experiences at Paris McDonalds'. (Is it the same one?)

But it wasn't a random violent asshole. It was three violent assholes which doesn't seem random to me.

Actually Perp-3 wasn't violent, as far as I could tell from the story. I think he mainly called him "perpetrator" because he was close, stood around, didn't do anything and seemed to be okay with what happened.

And of the other two, Perp-1 seemed to have been the manager, while Perp-2 was a customer (judging by the shades in his hair, and the "meal" in front of him).

I'm guessing the customer felt paranoid from the camera and complained to the manager.

It only takes one random violent asshole in a position of authority to incite his underlings. That might not be the whole explanation, but the fact there were three of them doesn't mean much in a situation where one of them is likely to be in charge of the others.

That's because, like the majority of people, you are probably quite bad at understanding both randomness, and the normal behaviour of violent assholes.

Um, sir, I have more than a layman's understanding of randomness, thank you very much. This is Hacker News; all kinds of people post here.

I'm not even sure what you mean by "random" in this case; we're talking about one event. I didn't say anything about the distribution of violent assholes in McDonalds or France in general. It certainly wasn't "random" when the first violent guy brings over other employees who happened to also be violent. I don't know about France, but in the US, there are strict laws on what a commercial establishment can do to get someone off the premises. Now, mafia-run operations aside, most places would just ask you to leave and threaten to call the cops if you remain.

Was just meaning that randomness tends to be clumpy and that violent assholes are more likely to be violent assholes when there are a few of them around, so the fact that they were three of them does not particularly decrease the chance of it being a random incident in comparison to there only being one violent asshole.

McDonald's are not really "easily" franchisable. You can't just write a check and buy a McDonald's franchise. You have to be an owner-operator, not an owner-investor. You have to go through crew training, learn all the positions, work as a shift manager, and go to Hamburger University among other things (in addition to having the money), before you are granted a franchise.

A much more plausible explanation of a story posted by a newly created account to a popular tech aggregator about a technology which competes with (and possibly pre-dates) Google Glass, with a picture of Google Glass on the same page, is that a patent [1] suit is about to break out.

A cynic might think they were trying to harvest accesses from internal to Google IP addresses so that as of today they could show 'knowable infringement' aka treble damages.

[1] http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sec...

If I wanted to show that my technology wasn't "super freaky out there" (which he could easily be accused of by people who don't slurp up Google press releases every day), what better way than to show that it looks almost identical to something that the all-trusted Google is going to be selling in the near future?

It is possible I'm not cynical enough, but if I were trying to gain sympathy for my cyborg-prosthetic plight, the more I could relate it to things people are already comfortable with, the better.

I think the simplest answer is the most likely: That franchise has bumped prices up above what McD's corp allows for and/or has figured out a way to game the computers so they are underreporting their revenue and thus are paying much less in franchise fees than they should be. Given its prime tourism spot, people don't complain, but if pictures got back to corporate, there would be problems.

My thoughts exactly, though my sentiment is that Steve Mann deserves some thought from Glass engineers.

I've been following his work for some years (decades) now, and while he is an "interesting" person, he has made many leaps in both design and tech involved, as well as testing.

Absolutely, the guy is a frickin' genius!

All I know is we have three things:

1) A patent for the 'eyetrap' issued in 2003 with another 8 years or so to run.

2) A huge company with > $100B in the bank who has made a big publicity play betting on their technology that, on the surface clearly infringes.

3) No statements either from either party that a license is in place. In fact the Google Glass page should say "this device is covered by patents ..." but it doesn't.

If in fact no license exists, I see a table in the square with between 100M$ and a 1B$ sitting on it with nobody watching. I would not be surprised in the least that someone decided to try and take it off the table.

Time will tell.

>A huge company with > $100B in the bank

Google doesn't have > $100B in the bank (citation: http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bs?s=goog+Balance+Sheet). You are probably thinking of Apple.

Your right they have been spending big chunks of late (I believe the Motorola deal recently closed so that 12B check had to clear the bank eventually).

I continue to believe that Google is perceived to be a 'high value' target by offensive litigators.

The technology used in eyetrap and Google's glasses is sufficiently different that I doubt the eyetrap patent is really being infringed by Google. I doubt Steve has the money or desire to take Google to court anyway, and probably holds the patent as a defensive measure against himself being sued by someone like Google.

Sort of FYI, plaintiff lawyers in the US may choose to work on a contingency basis if they think there is a big payoff at the end, no cost to the plaintiff, just let them sue on your behalf and they are off to the races.

I don't know about you, but that seems a good deal more implausible than a restaurant being run by a mob.

And other stuff that raises flags for me.

First the original article was deep-linked into the eyetap.org site. Which is to say it didn't appear as a link on the front page, in fact I didn't find any inlinks to it until this story broke and those are from blogs etc. And it was posted by an account created to post that one link on HN (not like Dr. Mann or someone who regularly participates here stumbled across it and tried to link it.)

Now if Dr. Mann had a running blog about life as a cyborg or his thoughts on wearable computing, and this just happened to come up in that blog as "Oh the saddest thing happened ..." then it might feel more natural. It has since been converted to a one-entry wordpress blog.

As I've said elsewhere, we'll see what the next steps are. Eyetap has certainly gotten a lot of publicity out of the deal so I expect the press will follow up on any fallout here as well.

The resemblance between Google Glass and his "Glass" is striking, but the use of the comparative picture and the emphasis on the similarity of the name is at odds with the main thrust of article describing the alleged assault, suggesting an ulterior motive.

A patent suit is always going to break out these days, in anything even remotely connected with mobile computing, so the correlation there isn't very strong.

[edit] The current pace of litigation seems to be leading towards some form of Kessler Syndrome - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kessler_syndrome - but made of patents instead of orbital debris, that will finally result in all courtrooms in the world discussing nothing but technical IP cases.

I've looked into how McDonalds franchises work before and have learned about money laundering from Breaking Bad: how would using a franchise make sense? McDonalds (and most other franchise businesses) run very tight ships with stock (and marketing): if a business sells 100 burgers McDonalds is going to know, it seems that if suspicions were ever aroused with this McDonalds all the IRS (or whatever the french tax authority is called) would need to do is talk to McDonalds and compare what the franchise reports to McDonalds vs. what their accounts show?

You throw out the merchandise with the highest profit margins while reporting fake sales.

Bars are traditionally popular for money laundering because everyone pays in cash, liquor has absolutely insane mark-up, and it's really easy to pour it down the drain. I imagine a fastfood restaurant would not work as well, but who knows.

Plus if you're not automatically controlling portions, a bottle of liquor can have a very wide range of plausible drinks-sold-per-bottle. Probably by a factor of two or so.

Exactly. You can easily get a few hundred dollars from a single bottle if you do it right. Just think of all those 10-15 USD mixed drinks that have maybe a shot or two of booze in them.

But then you'd have to account for the mixers.

Yes, depending on the drink. You could probably safely forge the accounting for that stuff though, and if not, that stuff is ultra cheap anyway. Soda-water, ice, fruit, etc could all be pretty much ignored.

My brother was in a bar once where he ordered a shot of whisky and it came in at about 4-5 oz or so. Maybe it was money laundering?

it's really easy to pour it down the drain

Or sell it on the black market.

and have learned about money laundering from Breaking Bad...


While I agree, that doesn't really effect their point.

Breaking bad is not a source for research.

It is possible. There are many reasons people may have been nervous around cameras. They may have been doing a number of illegal or semi-illegal things, like dealing drugs, embezzling something or other, or even cheating on time-sheets.

And none of the above are that hard to believe. Drug deals especially happen all over the place and all the time.

Call me crazy, but operating the highest profile McDonald's franchise in Europe is probably not the first thing I'd consider if I needed to launder some money.

But setting up a venture capital fund in Silicon Valley, given today's ridiculous valuations, seems like an excellent way to launder money.

This seems unlikely given how little physical cash is used in VC funding.

Nonsense. I took a camera phone photo at a McD's in Hong Kong earlier this year and several employees freaked out and they all came over to ask me to delete it. Are ALL the stores with no-photo policies mafia fronts?

Well, did this Hong Kong McD's have a large aquarium?

What did you take a picture of? I remember taking a video of several people sleeping in the back of a Hong Kong (Central) McDonald's and nothing happened. Perhaps no employee saw me?

Little background here (I'm French and grew up in Paris):

MacDonald's branding in France are really different in France than it is in the US, especially in Paris. Food is quite tasty, meat is fairly good, and even the colors are different: the flashy red/yellow has been replaced by a classy green/black two years ago.

And this specific MacDonald's is one of the biggest and best located in Paris (Champs Elysées)

Money laundering may have been a plausible explanation for a random US MacDonald's, it's really far fetched for this one.

> (...) the colors are different: the flashy red/yellow has been replaced by a classy green/black two years ago.

I believe it's the same case pretty much in whole Europe. In all countries I've been to for the last two years or so (Poland, Czech Rep., Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland), the McD branding involved dark green background rather than vivid red one.

> Food is quite tasty, meat is fairly good (...)

That's generally correct, too. I have no idea about U.S. but here it seems that most of the shady reputation fast food gets is not because of the quality of ingredients, but the way they are processed to make the meals, i.e. almost exclusively fried with lots of added fat.

If you want to launder money, then you need cash transactions. McDonalds was one of the first restaurants to have eftpos transactions at every store (at least in Australia).

I can think of several better ways to launder money than running a McDonalds.

I'd say it's far more likely to be a tighter than usual security restriction due to the (perceived or real) threat from terrorism.

I believe it was at this McDonald's that I was deliberately short-changed without a recepit. This is a big tourist point where daily sales must easily reach five thousand. These guys are probably trying to cover a simple operation to rip people off.

If I recall correctly (murky here, I didn't really care and may be mixing this with another memory or a different location) the cashier even nonchalantly covered the front-facing display with his hand (this actually took a very unusual gesture), so I couldn't see what the entered amount was. I paid in cash, the sum was tiny, and I didn't really care. It's McDonald's.

It would be very easy for any ordinary McDonald's to have rules against filming in their store. Heck, just one incident like this and the manager would instantly ban cameras from ever being in his store again. If word of the stink got above the manager's head, then corporate would ban cameras in every store. I get told no pictures allowed in lots of NYC stores that aren't even in tourist areas and aren't good candidates for money laundering. Can I come to a meeting at your offices and film every single thing I see, including the screens of any workstations I pass by walking to the meeting room?

> No one at an ordinary McDonald's would even notice such a device. Ergo this was not an ordinary McDonald's, but one with security people looking for cameras.

Not the case. McDonald's employees in Prague, CZ got pretty pissed at me for taking picture, and were quite rude about it. I think it's McDonald's corporate policy to not allow pictures, at least in EMEA. Lots of stores in high-traffic areas have private security. I think this incident was probably caused by power-crazed security implementing McDonald's policy in an inappropriate way.

Why would a McDonald's have security people looking for cameras?

Never been to France. Been to several McDonald's with security guards. I'm pretty sure they had CCTV. Not a front for money laundering - it was that kind of a neighborhood. Eastern Market has gentrified a bit since then ...

Anyway. A no-camera policy could be put in place to deter snoops. Guys working for the other team (Burger King). Maybe they had a bad experience with guys taking pictures of other patrons.

Ah - you're just trolling, aren't you?

You cannot do money laundering in a McDonald because you need to buy everything from McDonald. It is too easy to easy to control for the authorities. In France, money laundering is normally performed in small pizza restaurants or way easier, moved across the border to be handled in casino-like shops in Germany where it is easy to open such bet/play shops.

For the why this reaction, I have no ideas, plain stupidity is often the good answer.

Isn't it more plausible that this is a key McDonald's location that has some kind of "experimental" menu that they use to test out new product ideas? so taking pictures of the layout or menu could potentially leak trade secrets.

The mafia idea seems quite far fetched, if only because you'd think McDonald's would do a fair bit of work to ensure none of their franchisees are using their brand as a front for organized crime.

A McDonald's, at one of the busiest and most popular tourist locations in Paris, and they're trying to keep something in plain sight a secret?

"Possibly because it was a mafia front. If you wanted to launder money, a fast food restaurant in a popular location"

There are many easier ways to launder money then to do it while operating a McDonalds (which has pretty high vetting for franchises. It's not trivial to be awarded a McDonalds franchise and certainly not in a top location). And most importantly if you are doing something illegal the last thing you want to do is to draw attention to yourself. Not to mention the fact that even if they were laundering money they wouldn't exactly have much to hide from pictures from a random guy with a weird head device.

Was reading wikipedia and found this article, which reminded me of this post.

The transfers were small, equivalent to about 12,000 to 24,000 Philippine pesos (500 to 1,000 US$), and would be handed over each night at a Wendy's or a karaoke bar.


Or maybe employees misses some legal autorisations to work and are afraid there is some working-inspectors that collects evidences.

Money laundering in France are usually done with a kebab restaurant, not a McDonald.

pg, I have discovered in my many years that the truth is often simpler than we expect. Your theory is interesting, but I have http://eyetap.blogspot.com/2012/07/physical-assault-by-mcdon.... Thank you for pointing the way.

when I was at a McDonald's in Madrid Spain, it was the only place that a person at the front told me to put my camera away and delete the pictures that I had on my camera. I proceeded to walk out of the building. The man inside followed me for a few steps before letting me go.

I dont' think the average Micky D's makes enough dough for that.

Los Pollos Hermanos?

Attacking people with cameras in a McDonalds, at a popular tourist trap, is not how any mafia front would behave if they wanted to last more than a week.

>No one at an ordinary McDonald's would even notice such a device. Ergo this was not an ordinary McDonald's, but one with security people looking for cameras. Why would a McDonald's have security people looking for cameras? Possibly because it was a mafia front. If you wanted to launder money, a fast food restaurant in a popular location would be a good place to do it.

Wait, what? An international fast food franchise as a mafia front? And for laundering money? So that the mafia also has to check in with the multinational's franchise title owners?

And all that in Paris?

How about some stupid security guy noticed the device and thought (correctly) that it contained some covert camera, and that the guy that has it is possible trouble (journalist investigating the place, a pervert, etc)?

The premise that "no one at an ordinary McDonald's would even notice such a device" is also deeply flawed, what with the paranoia about a) terrorism and b) pedophile photographers these days.

They don't even have to "look for cameras" actively, all it takes is some customer to point it to them "hey, there's a guy with some strange device over there, something fishy is going on".

Complain to the Olympic board as McDonalds are a sponsor of the Olympics and the Para-Olympics.

In parallel write/email to the newspapers etc.

Also talk to your embassy who can advise how to proceed in other ways.

You have a vision problem and need a visual aid to combat that disability. McDonalds not only commited assualt but also did it systematicaly and premeditated way indicating they are not a suitable sponsor for the para-Olympics.

If they won't deal with this issue responsibly, then sod em and shame them as publicly and in as many ways as possible; you have done nothing wrong, nothing and they are all to blame so shame them.

Also few links on FB and twitter with liberal abuse of #mcdonalds #imlovinit #mcd and the like will soon garner this issue the attention it needs and deserves.

You could see a lawyer, but it's hard to find one who can deal with this. I'd go the press/PR route (then a good lawyer will come to you) as your doing but with a few nationals who will happily run this story. Now is a good time given there large marketing event called the Olympics, leverage this time and educate McDonalds.

Last time I went to McDonalds security told me the toilets were for customers only too which I pointed out that in a civilised World we wash our hands before we handle our food and I had no desire to take my food into the toilet or leave it unattended as I had no confidence on the security being able to saftly protect my food/possesions. He appologised and I left to eat elsewere.

Drifitng off topic, but the Paralympics are already sponsored by ATOS, the company the UK government has put in charge of taking social security from the genuinely disabled.


Indeed and ATOS IT recently were crying they needed more pay and were shouting about it. Now if they were told there appeal for more money would take at least a year to be heard and in the meantime that they would not get paid anything until that appeal for more money. Then that would of been karma and a fair approach.

Ironicly I know of three people who attended a ATOS medical. One had cancer (turned out to be terminal), one had MS and the other had phsical injury including 2 fingers missing. They were all deemed fit for work apart from the one who could clearly not hold a long-bow due to the missing fingers, least thats the funny take on it. Do wonder if the French are still pissed that we let so called pesants goto war with longbow's and is the origins of the two finger jesture in the UK as a sign to the French we can still use the long bow. Those captured by the French would have there bow fingers cut off and thus a display of those two fingers was born as a in your face gesture towards the French.

Back onto the offtopic subject you may be intersted to look up how many of those deemed fit for work have died shortly after there income was cut off. If it was in any other country it would be called genocide etc.

This brings us nicely back on-topic in saying that descrimination of disabled people in any shape or form is more of a issue than race descrimination thesedays. If people are asked about Hitler and World War II and gas chambers then they go on about the victimised Jewish people and how bad it was for them (and it was a bad thing). Nobody mentions how disabled people were also given the same treatment. Church's, many still accepted forms of estabilshments have and some still do descriminate against disabeled people. Even hospitals. This I have witnessed many times personaly and it is utterly disgusting. There is one small plus side though. That is you can more easily identify genuine people from those who operate such double-standards and in that can avoid them.

ATOS is mearly a knife edge away from being audited at a level that will embarass and shame them. McDonalds are no better but sadly don't cash in on Goverment contracts so in that are sadly immune to alot of bad PR, historicaly they have done some major crimes.

> social security from the genuinely disabled

And what might that percentage be? Seeing a number of moochers feigning disability for unearned dole outs, is surely the most common disgust of our times.

And if one is disabled, they should not expect to be given free handouts from money forced out at gunpoint. They need care and consideration and all volunteer help they can get.

Its time to realize that Government should be the institution for one thing and one only. Protection of individual freedom. And nothing else.

Internet libertarians are adorable.

Thank you, and is that the only comment you have on the topic? Say, what is your philosophical stand on this?

Seeing a number of moochers feigning disability for unearned dole outs, is surely the most common disgust of our times.

If you really think that is true then you possibly need to get out a lot more, we got this whole banking crisis, massive depression and unemployment, corrupt politicians, ecological collapse, huge civil unrest across previously stable democracies and loads of wars and all sorts of crazy shit going down.

On second thoughts, scratch that, could you please stay indoors. It is probably for the best.

Thanks but no thanks, and I could do as I please. Not that it is any of your business.

But lets see what we got on your list: - whole banking crisis, last I checked my savings bank account was secure. And although my livelihood may be intricately connected to Big Banks, I don't think all the banks in the world are going bust. Nor is the age old concepts of banking. A lot of things which is complex and serious here, but definitely nothing here which disgusts me

- massive depression and unemployment, This is an era of massive changes, but there will always be human activity. No matter what cooked up and muddled GDP numbers say. Again no disgust.

- corrupt politicians, the moochers are a result of their policies, and they enable the corrupt politicians. So this is along the same lines as the disgusting stench of moochers.

- ecological collapse, huge civil unrest across previously stable democracies and, loads of wars and, all sorts of crazy shit going down more serious issues, and a lot of call for action. But disgust? Whom are we kidding.

Looks like you have a problem reading the import of the message. Maybe you sympathize with the blood sucking moochers, or maybe you are one of them. Whatever it is, the only thing more disgusting than the dole out leechers are people who knowingly give them unearned, undeserved virtual credibility.

The disgusting stench of moochers, as you so delightfully put it, by which I am guessing you mean the unemployed, is largely the end result of the automation of production starting with the agricultural revolution, and not a creation of the welfare state, which is merely a societal bulwark against violence by people who think, probably correctly, that bored people are very dangerous when they get hungry, so you either lock em up, or make sure they get fed.

Personally I would pay everyone dole, unless they really don't want it. Call it a national dividend and make it a function of GDP per person. No chance then of a benefit trap, and an incentive to work on things that benefit the wealth of all.

Also, on paper, as far as I can tell, it would cost roughly the same as the current system anyway, seeing as, at least in the UK, the bureaucracy of organising the benefits system costs multiple times the amount actually paid out in benefits.

Plus, the UK benefits system actually underpays, on average, when you sum the figures of accidental underpayments vs accidental overpayments and outright fraud, so there are actually more people not receiving benefits they are legally entitled to than there are people involved in illegally obtaining them.

Now cheer up and learn to mooch a little. You are obviously working far too hard, on stuff you don't enjoy that is making you angry as hell, and in this day and age, you don't really need to. Sorry for suggesting you should stay indoors, go live on a beach and make kites for a summer while drunk or something like that instead. You owe it to yourself.

> by which I am guessing you mean the unemployed

no, by moochers I mean people who live off unearned income. In this context, from forced government dole outs.

> the bureaucracy of organising the benefits system costs multiple times the amount actually paid out in benefits.

you got any citations for this?

> so there are actually more people not receiving benefits they are legally entitled to

the whole of your argument and point of view, is based on legally instituted perverse "benefits". We have instituted morally corrupt systems of welfare and people nowadays take it as a matter of fact.

> Now cheer up and learn to mooch a little

Thanks, but no thanks. You obviously feel a lot better if you spread your moral corruption to every one else. I work for my own bread.

I work, sometimes when I have to and sometimes when I find something interesting to do. The thing is, so many well paid jobs seem to consist largely of ephemera, while the people I see doing useful things within society are usually paid less. So I wonder how many of the people who are employed in the ephemeral economy, could stop pretty much everything they are doing in their job and society would be no worse off and in many cases wouldn't even notice.

I find it really hard to believe that Steve Mann would have some kind of medical condition that would lead a normal Dr. to prescribe that Steve Mann wears the computer vision glasses that Steve Mann invented.

I'm sorry he was harassed, but this story really smells of one of the oldest ways to gain media attention on the internet:

Step 1: Get screwed by a big company (this is the easy part) Step 2: Write a blog article documenting how you got screwed Step 3: Submit story to slashdot, digg, reddit, etc.

Keep in mind people, before you start blowing up about this "injustice" that we're only hearing one side of the story. And frankly, I'm of the opinion that cases of assault are better handled by police and courtrooms than blogs and internet mobs.

Also, the fact that the retribution Steve Mann is demanding, is that McDonald's repairs the glasses that Steve Mann invented is, well, a fantasy to say the least.

> I find it really hard to believe that Steve Mann would have some kind of medical condition that would lead a normal Dr. to prescribe that Steve Mann wears the computer vision glasses that Steve Mann invented.

Not necessarily as huge a coincidence as you seem to think. If Steve Mann has a medical condition that is not easily rectified by existing technology, and assuming Steve Mann is reasonably intelligent, then it's no stretch of imagination that he might be compelled to do research on something that personally impacts him. Since he's a professor at the University of Toronto, I don't find it hard to believe that he is reasonably intelligent, and so this is not necessarily so hard to believe.

But on a second reading, it doesn't seem like he even necessarily has a medical condition. He refers to a doctor's letter which is for explanatory purpose. Since this device is apparently permanently attached to the skull, no doubt a doctor was involved at some point. In other words, Dr. Mann has done research into augmented vision, created a device, and had the device installed onto himself. While potentially risky, we all know people do far crazier things.

Which isn't to say that this isn't a media attention grab, but it's not as farfetched as you make out.

True, but the crux of the matter is that no doctor would prescribe such a device.

Maybe, maybe not (I'm not a doctor and don't want to speculate) but they would absolutely write a letter to document/certify a visual disability and describe potential accommodations that might be used.

That is prima facia absurdity. It's like saying "no doctor would just prescribe pain killers without checking for addiction signs", yet it happens all the time. There is a phrase for it - doctor shopping. How hard is it to believe some techie doctor would allow, or formalize a guy doing potentially important research on himself, particularly if it is presented well by a competent scientist.

I should clarify: no doctor that wants to keep his license would prescribe this device. Doctors can (and do, when caught) lose their licenses (temporarily or permanently) if they get caught prescribing drugs for off-label purposes.

Documenting a medical condition which could be addressed by the use of the device is a very separate issue for medical and legal purposes.

The doctor's note is presumably to explain that the glasses cannot be removed easily and are actually implanted in him.

A few years back he had airport security physically pull out wires out of him.


(apparently "a few years back" is 10 years ago. Yikes.)

Edit: a link to an old (1997) article about his glasses:


I'm trying really hard to understand why these glasses cannot be removed from his body. They are glorified video goggles...not an EEG connected to his brain. There is no good reason that they need to be bolted to his head. Hell, even gluing them on is excessive.

Until someone can provide a good reason why this would be chronically implanted into him, I think this all smells like hype to me.

And why no pictures of the guy trying to grab his goggles off his face? Surely there would be a snapshot somewhere of that?

I stand corrected - it seems it was electrodes rather than implants. Some interesting comments on the old Slashdot story:


From reading the New York Times article, it doesn't sound like Mann had any "implants" "forcibly removed". It sounds like they tore electrodes off his body. In other words, they pulled tape off his skin, and it caused bleeding. Unpleasant, sure, but it's not like they strapped him down and used a drill to extract chips from his brain. More like they pulled off a Band-Aid too fast.

The reason that he ended up in a wheelchair was that since he no longer had his cyborg navigation gear, he supposedly got confused while walking around the airport and hit his head on a pile of fire extinguishers. I don't even know where to start with that one.

And another comment, which may explain the doctor's note:

Years and years ago, when the earth was new, I was an undergrad at MIT and then-Media-Lab-graduate-student Mann spoke in a class I was taking. At the time, I believe he was trying to recruit people to do heavy-duty graphics work (i.e. when he moves his head side to side, his camera is taking discrete pictures of a room/building/whatever at different angles. He was working on algorithms to put them all together and make them coherent). Anyhow, the point is, I distinctly remember him saying that he got nauseous when he removed his visor. The reason was very simple. He spent all of his waking life (outside of the shower) in a 2D world. His body was so used to it, that living in 3D took some serious getting used to, and he would feel sick. My guess is that this is what happened. Ever feel like your eyes need some adjusting after staring at a 2D object (such as a movie theatre screen) for hours at a time? Now image doing that 24/7 for years and trying to re-adjust to the real world.

In regards to that slashdot article's comment, the comparison to watching a movie screen doesn't really explain it for most of us, I think.

There was an experiment[1] that had participants wear vision-inverting glasses for a while. Eventually they started seeing everything right-side up through the glasses. In fact, their vision was upside down after they removed the glasses!! Although they re-adjusted after a little while, it'd certainly explain Mann's temporary disorientation and the subsequent need for a doctor's note.

Also, it'd be weird to conduct such experiments on yourself and not expect weird stuff like this to happen to you from time to time, especially when visiting foreign countries.

[1] George M. Stratton. Some preliminary experiments on vision. Psychological Review, 1896.

I have read the cited paper, and seen no mention of what you described to be there:

>As to the relation of the visual field to the observer, the feeling that the field was upside down remained in general throughout the experiment.

>On removing the glasses on the third day, there was no peculiar experience. Normal vision was restored instantaneously and without any disturbance in the natural appearance or position of objects.

From Wikipedia:

"Determined to find results, Stratton wore the telescoping glasses for eight days straight. By day four, his vision was upright (not inverted). However on day five, images appeared upright until he concentrated on them; then they became inverted again. By having to concentrate on his vision to turn it upside down again, especially when he knew images were hitting his retinas in the opposite orientation as normal, Stratton deduced his brain had reprocessed his vision and adapted to the changes in vision."

So perceptual adaptation is real, it just takes like a week to really kick in. For someone who had been wearing these glasses for years, I'm sure the effects would be much more intense.

EDIT: The paper that the follow up results were in might actually be "Stratton, G. (1897). Upright vision and the retinal image. Psychological Review, 4, 182-187"

I admit I'm not used to citing academic papers, I heard about this experiment back in high school anth/soc/psych so I just did my best to find a semi-credible reference.

I haven't read any papers, but I've heard of this experiment (or one with similar effects) before in a basic psychology class.

>And why no pictures of the guy trying to grab his goggles off his face? Surely there would be a snapshot somewhere of that?

I think because of the "polar bear in a blizzard" problem: you don't actually see anything informative.

"And here, ladies and gentleman, is a blurry hand covering up most of the camera's view! I promise it's someone trying to rip my glasses off!"

The human visual system adapts to its inputs. If you wear glasses that flip whatever you see upside down you'll be confused for a few weeks, but eventually you'll adapt and at that point removing them will render you unable to see properly. I'd expect the same thing to happen with visual augmentation of the sort that Prof. Mann is wearing here. That is, without all the extra visual cues he's getting he'd have a hard time parsing normal vision.

Of course it's hype. It's Steve Mann... he bills himself as the first cyborg iirc.

I don't get the point you are attempting to make. Are you doubting that he has in fact done this to himself?

Wow, that's dreadful. Having security guards rip electrodes off someone's skull making them bleed is no way to treat somebody.

you say that until some terrorist screw a bomb to his head and kill YOUR CHILDREN!!!!1!!

It appears you've been hellbanned for this comment. My condolences.

Just a note, I have show dead on, and your comments are showing up as dead.

calm down, more people have been killed on roads than due to terrorism.

I'd like to point out that this is a huge understatement. Roughly 10 times more people are killed on the roads in each year than have died as a result of terrorism on us soil (or us airplanes) in the past 50 years.

That comment was clearly sarcasm.

whoa, this thing is actually integrated into his brain? Does anyone have any more details on that part of the system?

From the post:

> "I tried on many occasions to contact McDonald's but have not received any response."

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

IMO going to the court of public opinion is acceptable when nobody who should be dealing with the issue is actually doing so.

This is practically why we have modern media, blogosphere or otherwise.

Not good is it, quick google yeilds this site:


Which highlights how he can be contacted though has no email address, but that is: jim.skinner@us.mcd.com

This explanation is so uncharitable it crosses over into implausible. It's not "the easy part" to get random McDonald's employees to behave as extremely as this.

Well if McD have a policy of not allowing photography of their staff in their outlets then it's easy.

McD worker: "sorry sir you can't take pictures or video of our staff"

person with recording device: "I'm not taking any pictures this is a medical device"

worker: "it looks rather like a Google glass recording device; you were recording the servers at the counter just now weren't you, I'm afraid you'll have to leave"

person: "no I won't I'm not recording anything these are just my glasses, see I have a doctor's note" [passes note carefully made to look fake but actually having real content]

worker: "sorry, please leave" [attempts to remove what he believes to be Google glass device as the person moves towards him aggressively]

It probably didn't go down like that but why is it such a stretch to believe it did?

Well the first problem there is putting your hands on another person. In America that's begging for at least law hilarity if not worse.

Oh, and not to mention they tore his paperwork up.

Don't forget the part where they rip up his papers. That's pretty out of line.

The point you got wrong was the last one. Instead if removing clothing, call the police.

confused security + non-compliance = being hit

If you developed a solution to your own medical problem, why wouldn't you get a prescription for it? The prescription gives you the right to use it.

It's a bare website (not a blog post) with nothing but a story and some contact information. If you know of a way to make this not "smell of one of the oldest ways..." do let us know.

Obviously we need to keep that in mind, but you're talking about the difference between one man's photographically documented account of an event and a theoretical response form a multi-national fast food chain's Public Relations team.

He is coming to the internet because he can't get his case handled in the way he wants to.

Obviously they aren't qualified to fix his glasses and that was a cheeky way of saying he wants them to pay for it.

All in all, he is a respectable human, who has compelling evidence of assault, who has not gotten the justice he thinks he deserves. Would you like him to give up?

I think he's well within reason. If you were assaulted by a cashier at McDonald's, would you just ignore it and continue on? I'm pretty sure I would try and get the perpetrators fired and possibly charged, and have the company pay for any damages to my property.

I agree, he is well within reason to get a lawyer and sue the pants off of McDonald's in civil court if his case is accurate as he describes it.

He's not asking for that though. What he basically wants is a public apology and for McDonald's to FIX his glasses. This is laughable.

Notice how all aspects of this story point to how awesome his glasses are: "they help with a medical condition", "having them fixed is more important than money", "they saved photos of a crime, even after they were broken"...

Agreed. This should be handled by lawyers and law enforcement. Not by panhandling to the internet about how awesome your technology is.

For the record, I totally love his research. When Google Glass debuted I said aloud "Wow! It's Steve Mann's EyeTap!".

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

He said he already tried getting law enforcement involved.

Maybe he plans to use lawyers as a last ditch effort, if his internet plea doesn't work? I would think it's a bit extreme to involve them first before trying to just settle things with McDonalds directly.

We should all be thankful that it wasn't Steve Mann's EyeTrap design.

reso wrote:

> have the company pay for any damages to my property.

You wrote:

> I agree

You also wrote:

> he basically wants [...] McDonald's to FIX his glasses. This is laughable.

You have contradicted yourself, unless you can explain how "paying for damages" to the glasses does not entail "fixing the glasses".

The useless pedant in me is thinking that the difference is:

1) pay for damages: provide monetary compensation for materials, labor, etc to have the experimental device replaced or restored to working order

2) fix his glasses: McDonalds takes the glasses, performs all operations in house at a corporate location, and return the device in working order.

The rest of me rejects the pedant, saying the effects of both are the same, therefore they are effectively the same statement, which I am pretty sure is reasonable and the intended meaning of those "discrepancies". :)

If you ask for that first, and don't get it, it also adds more bite to a suit later.

The infamous hot coffee MacDonalds case involved a woman who had first asked MacDonalds (or that franchise, not sure) to pay her medical bills (around 20 grand iirc for extensive second and third degree burns) and they refused. It was only after that when she sued, got a list of other complaints about the temperature and won a large judgement (reduced on appeal).

According to the HBO documentary "Hot Coffee," which is excellent, by the way, even after she sued she didn't request damages beyond medical costs, rather they were awarded by the jury.

You are completely misreading him, as far as I can tell.

He says:

I'm not seeking to be awarded money. I just want my Glass fixed, and it would also be nice if McDonald's would see fit to support vision research.

Which means in any sane interpretation to be that he wants McDonalds to pay for whatever it costs to repair or replace his property, but he is not seeking punitive damages for the assault, he just wants his glasses fixed. And he thinks it would be nice if McDonalds made a gesture of donating something to vision research, to show they are actually sorry.

I don't see in the article where the writer claimed there was a prescription involved. Just documentation that probably described things like what the purpose of the glasses was, how they were physically attached to his skull (that might require a note from a normal dr. perhaps?) At any rate, in a foreign country I would imagine it is a good idea to carry plenty of documentation for an augmentation like this just as with one's controlled medications. My two cents, I am sure he is on the level and definitely deserves some sort of acknowledgement and perhaps an apology from McD's.

I don't see how you are drawing this cynical conclusion. I didn't read much self-promotion at all in the article. It doesn't even explain what the device corrects with his vision. The focus of this story was his experience. I know I'd sure as hell want to tell the world about such abusive behavior if I didn't get a response from the police, embassy, or McDonalds. You could start a fight, trying to snatch somebody's glasses off like the first perpetrator did.

To be honest what fucking business does anyone have for assaulting someone for wearing special glasses?

Exactly! Unless those glasses are shooting dangerous gamma rays, you have no right to remove them.

What I don't understand why clearly things have been manually blacked out (or whited out in this case). Why not show their face?

I agree this story smells in a dozen different ways. Rather than the mafia I'm wondering if Steve Mann is perhaps seeking to establish some documentation in order to assert IP rights against a very wealthy company which has made very public announcements about glasses that augment your vision and take pictures of what you see.

For that reason I think we'll see more on this story.

> What I don't understand why clearly things have been manually blacked out (or whited out in this case). Why not show their face?

Perhaps because it is Europe?

I recall reading news articles a few months ago about a case in Europe where a man robbed a bank, and the police had surveillance photos of his face and wanted them shown on the news on TV, and the TV station blurred the photos because their interpretation of privacy laws was that since the suspect was merely accused, not convicted, it would violate his privacy to show his face.

> …I'm wondering if Steve Mann is perhaps seeking to establish some documentation in order to assert IP rights…

This is the most ridiculous thing I've seen on this page yet.



Your argument is that because Dr. Mann is an academic he wouldn't sue Google? On the contrary for someone who has put as much of his life into augmented reality, to see Google Glass hit the press where essentially this giant $250B company is going to change the world with his ideas? Especially where he is the sole inventor and assignee?

I don't know about you but that movie has played out so many times as to be cliche. Generally the professor's college is the one doing the suing as they get assignment rights to research but that doesn't seem to be the case here.

I'll be the first to admit I'm awfully cynical about patents these days, and I sure as hell know that if some patent litigator saw Mann's patent he would ask Dr. Mann if he was being compensated by Google. If not that same litigator would probably have a moment of giddyness as he offers to get him that compensation. Could be a big payday, and money is a powerful motivator.

I'll take it all back if Mann says that Google has already licensed the patent. Otherwise my bet is on the legal sharks.

Jeez man, anybody who has anything to do with wearable computing these days knows all about Mann's work. I'm sure the Google Glasses people know all about it too; I'd be shocked if they did not. He's just too well known. Stop tilting at windmills.

Here's some background reading: http://www.theverge.com/2012/6/26/2986317/google-project-gla...

If your employer allows it, browse the US patent office [1]. That is a search for 'google' and 'glasses' in any patent application. Then go to the link the US PTO maintains which cites references to Dr. Mann's patent [2]. Of the 34 patents that reference Dr. Mann's work, not a single one is a Google patent associated with Google Glass.

So while "anybody who has anything to do with wearable computing" knows about Dr. Mann's work, apparently those same people at Google seemed to have missed that connection when the started filing patents about wearable displays.

So, I agree with you. Everybody working with wearable computing should know about Dr. Mann's work. And anyone putting out a 'revolutionary product' which looks strikingly similar to the Eyetap product would, acknowledge that debt and perhaps show how they learned from what had gone before.

So if you're right, then I'm right too.

[1] http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sec...

[2] http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sec...

> Your argument is that because Dr. Mann is an academic he wouldn't sue Google?

I think the argument was that he hardly needs an altercation at a McDonalds in 2012 to establish documentation. He's been doing the wearable computing stuff for decades, publicly.

If there were to be a legal dispute, surely actual patents and research papers would be the documentation you crave, and not an after-the-fact, sole author web page on a very loosely related topic?

The argument is that there is already substantial documentation and that Steve Mann doesn't need to establish anymore.

I'm pretty sure that it's illegal in France to publish photos of people without their consent.

Also, why would he, if he's after some sort of reasonably amicable settlement?

> What I don't understand why clearly things have been manually blacked out (or whited out in this case). Why not show their face?

I don't know, maybe because not everyone like a mob with pitchforks?

> What I don't understand why clearly things have been manually blacked out (or whited out in this case). Why not show their face?

In Europe it is illegal to publish photos of someone without their consent unless that someone is a public figure.

This is also why he might have gotten a rather negative reaction...

"Europe" doesn't have a law about that, every country has it figured out differently.

He is one of the most major researchers of this kind of device that does have direct and obvious applications for all sorts of forms of visual disability, and he is also one of the major long term voluntary scientific test subjects for it. Of course he carries a doctors note for the device, given a major part of the intention is intended as long term-medical research.

As for the demand for money to pay for the cost of replacement, it is hardly a fantasy given that this is probably their liability and they clearly can afford it.

Wow, sorry to hear about the assault and damage to your property. That is quite a way to wreck an otherwise pleasant vacation. I will say that I am glad to hear that I am not the only one to have been treated in a rather hostile manner at a McDonald's in Paris. My wife and I went there on vacation a few years back. My wife was filming my clumsy handling of the french language as she made me order (she is actually quite good at french) and an "employee" took her camera, shoved us out of the restaurant and then smashed our camera on the side walk. I'm not sure what they think they are hiding.

There must be something in the water there because we had eggs thrown at us from an upper floor apartment walking down some sidewalk in Paris (I guess our speaking English to one another was offensive?). We always spoke French when interacting with francophones. Visiting the more rural places in France was pleasant though, and the people were more friendly.

Parisians are famed for their rudeness. Whether that is fair I cannot judge, when I went there we didn't seem to have any problems!

Except for one rude shopkeeper, everyone I met in France was nice.

Were you in Paris? Seriously, we had no problems anywhere else we went. It was just Paris. We visited Nice, Lyons, and Toulouse on our trip and had lots more fun in those places.

This is a really disturbing story. I hope you get a satisfactory resolution.

Anyway, there has been a trend recently with regular HN'er saying that people should stop using HN as a way to get justice. "HN is not your mommy".

I strongly believe that this is exactly the time that HN should step up, upvote this story, and ensure to it that a guy who creates the technology he wears see's some kind of justice.

I'm the person who wrote the "HN is not your mommy" comment, and I'd like to take a moment to clarify a bit what I was trying to say with that.

Most importantly, I definitely wasn't decrying all instances of people bringing a situation that has gone some flavor of shitty to the attention of HN. In fact, it's in no small part the fact that the HN community is so willing to help one another out that keeps me here — particularly among the alumni, but I think their conduct just sets the example for the rest of us.

That said, I've started to feel a few times lately like that willingness to be helpful is being taken advantage of — or at least people are trying to do so. The "I didn't win the contest! Waaaah!" was just the most egregious example I'd seen in some time, and I felt the need to call it out. Given that it was the highest rated comment I've ever posted on HN, I'm clearly not alone in that.

This situation isn't remotely the same. This is a clear-cut case of ignorant idiocy escalating into physical assault, and the louder and more forcefully the fact that that kind of thing is fucking wrong gets shoved in McD's face, the better.

It's hard to ever say one use-case/situation is wrong, another is right. The ends justify the means... etc. yaddy yadder ya...

I also wasn't looking to single you out.. I know it was a high voting comment since it was at the top of the thread, so clearly did resemble a large portion of the HN's sentiments...

But, all the same, I just want to make the point, HN-community should try and step up in this situation, right?..

For the comment (below) asking for the link to the article I was referring to when I said "HN is not your Mommy"... http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4220156

Do you have a link to the I didn't win the contest article?

These things are also more than just justice. It's helpful to get some insight into the nature of a big company, so that you can make your own personal decisions on whether you want to continue to do business with them in the future.

Coming from Steve Mann, I'm a little bit hesitant to take this story at face value.

A while back, he had a run in with airport security about his equipment: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/14/technology/circuits/14MANN...

While I don't deny that the security guards could have acted more respectfully, it seems like Steve went out of his way to put himself in a situation that he knew would be problematic. Why couldn't he have removed the equipment before returning to the airport? Also, some of his claims seemed exaggerated, like that his equipment couldn't be x-rayed or that he became disoriented in the airport with having his wearable computer.

If he's looking to make a point about cyborg rights, fair enough, but my opinion of him is that he doesn't come into these situations with an attitude that avoids misunderstandings. I think that another person in this same situation would have at least been able to communicate with the McDonald's staff and determine what the problem was.

I think they were not afraid of terrorism or cops but rather journalist.

This past few years several documentaries showed how bad hygien can be in some french restaurant (fast-food or not) wich in the worst case led to the death of customers. http://www.leparisien.fr/faits-divers/quick-d-avignon-benjam...

One of this documentary was involving macdonald but was only broadcast on the internet once it was leaked cause the channel didn't want to lose one of the biggest advertiser. http://www.slate.fr/story/19421/mcdo-kfc-le-reportage-censur...

So i would bet they were afraid of bad publicity ... Oh the sweet taste of irony

"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"

This sounds bogus. The stills presented in the post suggests they were taken by design rather than some random stills "remaining in memory" after the alleged assault.

There are frames from earlier in his McDonald's visit that it would not make sense to still exist in memory for "processing". I'm not questioning the alleged events, but wondering why he would give such an unlikely explanation of the existence of these stills? Is it illegal to video in a retail establishment in France?

What he is trying to explain is that he is NOT making a permanent video record of everything he sees.

Any computer vision system is going to have an image buffer.

When you break the system it's going to stop overwriting that buffer with new images.

If he had been left alone the images on his blog would have been overwritten with new images.

Does it make more sense to you now?

Consider how long ago these events are in his narrative. He gives a still of 'Possible Witness 1' who he met and talked with as he entered the store. Presume that that image is at the end of their conversation (as it will have been pretty long).

He then describes going to the counter and ordering food. That is to say, his daughter ordered food in French. That's a minute or two of activity, at the least.

Then he goes and sits down to eat his food. Assuming really prompt service and that he was attacked almost as soon as possible in the narrative, that's at least another half-minute to take a seat and unwrap your sandwich.

There are then a series of images and a description of him trying to reason with several people who 'deliberated on [his documentation] for some time' before pushing him out. That, to me, is at least five minutes of confrontation.

I can't see why his image buffer would be over seven minutes long.

The earlier frames can be explained by having a larger buffer than is strictly necessary for typical use and rather than removing them as soon as they're processed, just leave it to get overridden.

Why you would have a buffer that large for realtime processing, I'm not too sure, but there probably is a reason.

Upsetting but I don't think there's much that can be done about it. The local police or gendarmes are unlikely to have the time to pursue it and I doubt any witnesses will come forward (from the staff at least). Just a case of three "beuf" (as the French would say) taking a dislike to a geek. Sadly, there's a sub-section of young(ish) male French society that is extremely macho and very closed minded when it comes to people not fitting the mould. They're the same jerks that will harass a girl if she's wearing a short skirt (because obviously that means "she's up for it!")

In Russian, this kind of person is called "gopnik". Feel free to use.

Not directly related to one of two USA main parties.

WHAT?! I can't believe this happened and truly hope you can find these people.

From the sound of your story, it sounds like those three were probably not actually affiliated McDonalds. Were you confident that even Potential Witness 1 was a true employee? Sounds like a scam and heist, but very strange since multiple people involved were wearing (seemingly) legitimate McDonalds clothing. Although, I would note that they were not wearing the uniform that the cashiers were wearing, which may give more weight to the conjecture that they were just lurking in plain site waiting to mug or rip someone off.

I hope you find these guys and they get whats coming to them.

Here in England the managers of a McDonalds wear different clothing items to the peons, it's plausible that the people involved were either managerial staff or possibly security? The fact that perp 3 is carrying janitorial equipment would indicate he is indeed part of the store.

> 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.

The computer broke and accidentally took these handy photos of his perpetrators? Yeah I don't believe that for a second. I'm betting that it was always recording video and in order to release these images publicly or in a courtroom, he needs a story about how it "malfunctioned" when he was roughed up.

Side tangent, that's exactly what's creepy about this glass technology. There's no physical indication that a picture/video is being recorded, like someone reaching into their bag, pulling out a camera, and pressing a button. Will someone be recording me as I'm talking to them? I'll never know.

It is plausible that the software stores recent imagery in a circular buffer for processing purposes and that the assault caused the software to crash, leaving the data in the buffer. Besides, Steve's work is university funded research so it wouldn't be hard to have the code analyzed if it came to that.

Regardless, your paranoia about such devices filming you unawares is misplaced. There are many off-the-shelf recording devices that are far less conspicuous; you have probably already been photographed hundreds of times by such devices. At least with these head mounted devices you have a definite visual cue that a camera is pointed at you.

A reasonable practice is to assume you're being filmed when not in a place or around people you trust.

I would imagine a lawyer at any of a number of the nations larger law firms would take this on for you on contingency given the rather large sums that McDonald's might be forced to spend settling this with you.

These firms are pretty approachable - don't go the local small-fry ambulance chaser, they won't know what to do.

Anyone else have alarm bells going off about the statements about buffering? He's very careful to represent storage of the images as an accident caused by the incident, which is slightly odd in itself - why not simply say it records everything it sees and that that was very useful in this case?

Then if there was no storage, how come there are images for several minutes before the assault? It must have been at least a ring buffer, so there WAS storage (albeit temporary).

I'm not condoning the violence that was done to him in any way. But this dissembling makes me want another witness before I take this at face value.

He's very careful to represent storage of the images as an accident caused by the incident, which is slightly odd in itself - why not simply say it records everything it sees and that that was very useful in this case?

Probably because he either believes French law forbids recording people without their permission, or doesn't know one way or the other (I'm in the second camp) -- so he has to emphasise that it was not his intention to take these pictures, to make it clear that he wasn't doing anything wrong in that regard.

The link in the submitted article, referring to an earlier incident in which a cell phone camera caused a physical confrontation with a McDonald's customer in France,


is probably important context here. It appears that there is some systematic misunderstanding among the company managers about how to train their employees to avoid overreacting to cameras in the store.

The real crime is that he went to Paris and ate at McDonalds.

While this incident is terrible, there's one thing Dr. Mann doesn't make entirely clear in the article.

The contact information for McDonald's France is quite easily found at http://www.mcdonalds.fr/contacts. It's not an e-mail address, but rather a phone number, but the way the article is written it's not at all clear if he's tried to contact them by their publicly available phone number?

He says that he tried to call, and his statement looks clear to me:

> I also tried calling the main number, at mcdonands.com: 1-800-244-6227, but got a voice recording that was totally unintelligible (very loud and distorted), and it appears this number does not work.

I tried the number just now, and in fact, it is exactly as he describes: you get a loud distorted unintelligible message for a 3-4 seconds and then it hangs up.

As Dr. Mann is likely calling from Canada, as I also am, it occurred to me that this particular 800 number might not work from Canada. Some USA-based 800 numbers work, and some don't -- it depends on the calling area that the 800-number subscriber wants to pay for.

Listening to the message a second time, I think that I can make out words about the "calling area", which would indicate why it's not working.

Except that number is for the US McDonalds. The French numbers would be +33 1 30 48 65 28 or +33 1 30 48 60 00 as stated on the contact page.

"I don't have the resources to take on a branch of a large multi-national corporation operating in a distant country" - doesn't really cut it when the contact page and number can be found on the Internet in 2 seconds of searching.

A few people have voiced concern that this is a made up story. I have to admit that I belong to that bunch.

I would imagine that if a store had a concern that this was an ... odd individual, carrying a video recording device, recording customers, employees and the store itself, I would send out security to escort the person out. But I would do so with a great trepidation, because of lawsuits.

There MUST be something missing in this story. It would take great recklessness and lack of ethics to completely fabricate the story, but it is possible.

More likely is that there were some leading events that we have not been told about.

The biggest red flag for me is how he is suddenly assaulted without any warning or prior dialogue taking place. That doesn't mean that any assault was justified, but it means we are not being told something.

"...I would send out security to escort the person out. But I would do so with a great trepidation, because of lawsuits."

This is what they did, but he did not want to go out because of the letter from his doctor(as his doctor's letter is something in France).

So they waited until they could suddenly remove the device from him, they not realizing it was permanent connected to the skull.

He wants it his way or his way.

I've been to Paris many a time and have friends there. The French cab drivers and people working in restaurants are known for their extremely rude behavior. Even the French hate them! I've been called a faggot by one waiter for ordering tea instead of coffee. (I was dining with two girls). Another waiter in the freaking LOUVRE MUSEUM tried to buy drugs from me. You know, just because I'm from Holland I must be carring pot. I don't know why but don't judge France and the French by visiting only Paris.

Worst two weeks of my life was two weeks spent in France. And only about 8 hours of that was in Paris. And that was actually somewhat pleasant. Aside from the people at the host company I was doing work for, nearly every human interaction I had in France fit the "Rude French" stereotype to the letter. But I doubt they care (or even know) they were all rude asses.

Can someone illuminate why a recording device would illicit such a harsh reaction? I can understand businesses wanting to avoid someone stand there with a video camera, but does France take this more seriously?

There are (sadly) thousands of such stories, YouTube videos, etc. about photographers getting assaulted and intimidated when legally taking photos in certain areas. This is basically the same thing at an even more technological level.

My speculation on this: A lot of people in security have such boring jobs that even if they don't feel intimidated by photographers, they relish a chance to play big, get a buzz out of the day, and look like they're "doing their job."

Security personnel often react irrationally to photographic equipment. The only unique thing here is that in this case the equipment was attached to his head.

Try it sometime - just take a video camera and point it at someone and see what their reaction is.

Now do this for everyone you ever meet, all day every day, in a strange country, and you see that although violence is rare you've increased the number of opportunities for violence to happen.

He's not telling the whole story.

I believe in the future it would be legal to film everywhere 24x365, and it also will be legal to shoot the bad guys (with weapons, not video) if they did some bad thing AND you film it.

And then everybody will behave, because if they don't they might get shot. Sort of a high-tech wild west.

(and you don't have to be a hard ball, just trigger the wearable fire response system).

>and it also will be legal to shoot the bad guys (with weapons, not video) if they did some bad thing AND you film it.

You can already do this in nearly any jurisdiction in the US as long as you're justified in using deadly force. It might make it easier to prove you were justified, but it wouldn't be anything new.

If the suggestion is that you'd need video to prove you were justified, that's a huge can of worms. You'd effectively be forcing people to choose between filming 24x7 and dealing with the potential privacy and self-incrimination issues there or being stripped of their right to self-defense.

There is a difference between filming in public and private spaces.

In most common-law jurisdictions filming in public is completely legal, even filming an event put on by a private entity (ie a sports game - there is no property in a spectacle). Note also the proliferation of CCTV in public spaces in many countries.

On private property you have the right to set rules and effectively dictate who is welcome and who is trespassing. Hence you can't take a video camera into a theatre etc.

There is a grey area when your public filming infringes on the reasonable expectation of privacy of another person. I doubt anyone here would take too kindly to a stranger following them 24/7 with a video camera.

Stranger following you with a cam is not much worse than stranger following you 24/7, period.

But now you would be able to film that fact and then sue him for annoying behavior.

That being said, France is a civil law country, not a common law one.

"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. "

Dude, this makes no sense...

This is the bit, as it appears, where the guy treats the readers as idiots and tries to make out that he wasn't really recording the whole visit just in case that mitigates against his claim of unfair treatment.

Those are not "buffered pictures" they are captured and purposefully stored images of the entire visit - which must be more than 10 mins. A transient store that simply enabled immediate viewing would likely be of the order of [far] less than a second; comparable with the buffering in an LCD screen.

What we'll probably find is that McD asked him not to take pictures in their outlet and he claimed he wasn't taking pictures at all that it was solely a medical device.

It looks about as bogus as it comes to me - is it some sort of PR stunt.

The Parisian Police did nothing?!

An American tourist was harassed but not physically injured. He has evidence (some hearsay/unverifiable) that random McDonalds employees destroyed property, but it's going to be annoying and difficult to prove anything.

I wouldn't expect a lot of help. Imagine if a random Albanian had a similar problem with NYC McDonalds employees and called the NYPD. The police don't support the assault, but they're not going to leap to attention over it.

This has always been my experience with Police in foreign countries.

They are polite, friendly, and genuinely wish the incident didn't happen. Once they ascertain nobody is really injured, etc. there is not a whole lot they can do.

Small correction: Steve Mann is Canadian.

Also, he has photographic evidence of his documentation being destroyed.

His eyewear appears to record or take pictures, so he likely has evidence of them destroy the documents.

French police sucks.

Usually they will try very hard to NOT take your report (bad statistics).

The actual assault description is extremely lacking in detail. Are we to believe someone walked up unannounced and tried to rip the eye glasses off!?

That sounds like a fairly standard security overreaction to cameras, so yes?

That's what I ascertained, so ... yes.

A number of companies seem to have policies against in-store photography. Supermarkets don't want their competitors getting accurate data about their pricing. Usually, it's the ones that offer loyalty cards so they can track their customers more effectively.

I have no idea how a branch of McDonald's in the centre of a major tourist city expects to be able to keep any secrets but it may simply be a company wide policy. Someone should update them on just how small, cheap and effective actual spy cameras are these days. Not to mention phones.

> but I could use some help and advice as to how to resolve this matter

This is bound to not be popular on HN, but, so be it.

First bit of advice: Don't be such a dork. Respect others, their space and privacy.

People don't want cameras pointed at them all the time. You might. I certainly don't. You can't just walk-up to people wearing a bunch of hardware and not expect a variety of reactions. If someone asks you to take it off and you can't, then you leave. You are the transgressor, not the people in front of you.

Second bit of advice: Ask for permission when walking into a private establishment -like a restaurant- with such a rig. It isn't their job to accommodate every nutcase that comes through the door. You are not a nutcase, but your actions may have telegraphed otherwise.

I would expect people to react very differently to an actual blind person wearing some hardware than an obviously sighted person under the same circumstances.

There are also details that are not being revealed. Does he "scan" the place and do a bunch of stuff with the hardware when entering a new environment?

I find it hard to believe that someone would outright attack him without prior motive. People just don't do that -not even in France- unless they are seriously provoked or are criminals. We know nothing about the interaction and actions of the cyborg propr to the "assault". Let's say he was "scanning" people at the restaurant and generally acting in an intrusive manner, well, that's just not acceptable behavior in most parts of the world.

Finally, the las bit of advise might be: Be aware of cultural differences when traveling to other countries. While in Canada and parts of the US people might generally go out of their way to be polite, that is not the case around the globe. In some parts of the world you'll gen man-handled and even beaten-up if you act like an idiot and show a general lack of respect. Just because you think what you are doing is OK it doesn't mean that everyone around you agrees.

Times do change. When I was in college I'd walk around with my HP calculator hanging off my belt. Outside of college I'd take it off. Today people walk around with computers in their pockets and little devices with blinking LED's in their ears all day long. That's just the way the world works. Be smart enough to use Aikido, not Karate.

Finally: Get someone to help you with industrial design. When comparing the photos on the linked page, your rig looks intimidating, while the Google rig is almost invisible.

Also, turn the damn thing off when dealing with people so your eye looks normal.

I respect the work and dedication immensely, what I think is off-base here is the assumption that it is OK to stick a camera in everyone's face (or within a private establishment) without permission.

If you decide to down-vote please have the courtesy to explain your reasons so that I and others might learn from contrasting points of view.

Christ, that's some quick victim-blaming.

There's no justification for trying to take away someone's property, even if it's a camera in your business. Physically assaulting someone over a camera is even worse. All attempts to excuse this sort of behavior immediately fall flat given that "possible witness 1" was given documentation of the device and apparently accepted it, and the perpetrator was also given the documentation.

At the point where you willfully destroy someone else's documents, you can't really hide behind cultural differences.

I'm speaking as a European if not a French citizen, but I cannnot read your post as anything but flamebait, given the prejudice and total lack of empathy.

I am not prejudiced at all. It's common sense. Also, why would I automatically have empathy for him when I don't know the whole story. What if he was a complete jerk? You don't know this and I certainly don't either so let's not take sides unless and until the facts are known.

If he was, in fact, assaulted without any provocation whatsoever it was a criminal act that the law should deal with in the strongest possible manner. I am not disputing that and don't think anyone would.

Why didn't he go to the police? I would physically go to the nearest police station and file an assault report. Do you really think French police would ignore him, particularly with evidence and witnesses? I think not.

My post was about common sense and manners. "When in Rome", if you will.

I did not place blame nor justify the destruction of property. It is purely your choice to read that into my post. PleAse don't put words in my mouth.

If any of the post wasn't clear: I, nor anyone on HN unless you were there, know exactly what went on. Therefore it is impossible to take sides an feel empathy for him or justify the other party's actions. We just don't know enough, so let's not get overly polarized in one direction or another.

My comments were more about how rude and unreasonable it might be to force yourself onto others or invade their privacy. If you want to walk around with a bunch of tech scanning everything around, you have to be respectful enough to ask permission.

Prejudice? Where? There's a huge difference between prejudice and reality. The Dutch don't have protection from the mechanisms inside windmills. I've done windmill tours with my kids and you simply have to adjust to their reality (when in Rome). Some Americans think this is insane. We might want to have floor to ceiling barriers to prevent anyone from getting their hands into the gears. The Dutch probably think that we are an over-controlling sue-happy society. None of this is prejudiced. It's just the way it is. When in the Netherlands I behave with respect and consideration for their ways. The same is the case in the UK, France, Italy or Germany. I've spent a good deal of time in various places in Europe. I can say that we, Americans, can be total jerks and so can everyone else (except the Dutch, they are always nice).

I agree that you can't go videotaping people in semi-public areas without someone getting annoyed, and that you can't take up pitchforks after hearing only one side of a story. But beyond that, I think you're being a jerk.

You criticize his 13-year-old contraption for not being as good looking as Google's last iteration of a product not yet launched. That sounds incredibly discriminatory.

You claim you'd treat his rig differently if he looked blind himself. Provided the device actually works well, how exactly do you determine that it's a necessary physical aid without intruding on his privacy?

You say you can't judge the employee for assaulting him without knowing if he, a long-time public user of this technology and a university professor, were just acting like an asshole. Yet you have no trouble speculating he were intrusively "scanning" everyone, which by the account is not something one would do with this device, especially in the given scenario.

You fault him for not contacting the police, which he explicitly said he had done.

All in all, it seems like you're projecting something onto him that is in no way deserved. This is not some video artist or smelly person we're talking about here, it's a father on vacation while wearing a prosthetic, getting into an altercation with staff that left his prosthetic damaged.

A few points:

Do you have to resort to personal attacks? Really?

Look/feel: If you are going to use intrusive tech in public you need to make the tech non-threatening. That's basic UI design. The Google device is easy to ignore. His rig is, well, look at the pictures. I also imagine it having a bunch of wires hanging off of it going to a backpack or something.

If he was blind he'd probably have a cane (well recognized internationally) or it would be obvious through interaction. The people he interacted with, per his own account, had conversations with him, which certainly clarified that he was not impaired.

It doesn't matter if he is a university professor or the pope. Both can behave as complete jerks and produce negative reactions on other people. Pedigree does not imply common sense.

He should have GONE to the police immediately, not "contacted them" --whatever that means. The fact that the embassy, police and consulate seem to have ignored him is a very interesting bit of data. I don't know what it means.

It's a father on vacation with his daughter being so inconsiderate as to not leave his crap at home in order to enjoy a vacation with his family. That alone paints a profile for me. Sorry. I could be completely wrong, but I would not do that to my kids. It takes a certain mentality to place your geeky needs above those of your kids for self-serving reasons.

If my oldest son was going around Paris shoving cameras in people's faces in public or private spaces and got slapped around I'd tell him to not be an idiot next time.

There is such a thing as behaving properly while in public and private. Some might disagree, but I've taught my kids to not be loud at restaurants, while I see others that don't care about the rest of the people dining and let their kids be loud and not allow the table next to them have a pleasant conversation. Being considerate is part of living in a pleasant society.

> The fact that the embassy, police and consulate seem to have ignored him is a very interesting bit of data. I don't know what it means.

Well for the embassy and the consulate it just means they were doing their jobs despite someone trying to waste their time. They have nothing to do with situations like this. He might as well have called his senator, NASA, the TSA or his personal hairstylist or whatever.

That he "did not have much luck" with the police is very telling, however. Because, if we are to believe the story in the article, the whole scene started when this guy assaulted him out of the blue trying to rip the glasses from his face. A lot of things happen afterwards (tearing up documents, another attempt at removing his glasses, and being pushed out of the door), but if that first thing is strictly true, there's no way he would have had "no luck" at the police.

That either means Paris police are actually not doing their job and ignored him as he tried to file a report for physical assault. OR much more likely: We're only hearing half the story, many other things took place before and after the first guy suddenly jumped him, the whole scene did not, in fact take place in complete silence, words were exchanged, maybe they asked some pointed questions and mr Mann lost his temper ... I don't know it's all speculation.

And even then, that's no reason for the police to ignore a report of physical assault. "An employee of the McDonalds on Champs-Élysées assaulted me and damaged my expensive glasses" is something that no police would ignore, regardless of which side "started it".

Really, the only explanation for that is that he didn't really try and that "without much luck" refers to the fact that the Paris police does not speak English over the phone.

Yes, in this case I really did feel it necessary to call you out for being an exclusionary apologetic.

Being considerate to others includes not punching ugly people. Being considerate to others includes accepting other people in "your" public space. Being considerate to others even includes not affixing assumed motives and behaviors to them.

I certainly hope you taught your oldest son these things. I would not wish to live in a society where everyone is required to wear labels, and I hope you would not, either. It's certainly good manners not to offend others, but to demand not to be offended is just silly.

No amount of ugliness justifies violence. Can we at least agree on this much?

> Do you have to resort to personal attacks? Really?

You are hardly in a position to talk. Anyway, the only 'personal attack' that I see is calling you a jerk - which seems to be rather an entirely accurate characterization.

> If you are going to use intrusive tech in public you need to make the tech non-threatening. That's basic UI design.

'Basic UI design' would be making sure that a device intended for permanent attachment to a human body was sufficiently supported and padded to prevent physical damage.

Appearance would be a strictly secondary concern, especially given that we supposedly live in a 'pleasant society,' as you put it, where physical assault should be looked down upon as a response to 'looking weird.' Though I have a sneaking suspicion that you might disagree with that idea . . .

> You are hardly in a position to talk. Anyway, the only 'personal attack' that I see is calling you a jerk - which seems to be rather an entirely accurate characterization.

I did not attack you personally in any way. You have chosen to resort to name calling without justification. I'll let the reader decided where the ad-hominem originated, which is really obvious.

I never once suggested that a physical attack was justified. You are choosing to read and extrapolate that out of my words. It's wrong, but you are free to use your imagination in any way you care to.

Live long and prosper.

He said he did go to the police and they did in fact ignore him.

I feel empathy for him because I find it very hard to believe that he said or did anything that would warrant physical assault. Indeed, there is nothing that justifies physical assault outside of self defence or temporary insanity.

Do you really think that a quirky famous academic out for a meal with his daughter attacked these employees? Seriously? Because that's the only way you can reasonably side with the McDonalds employees here.

Speaking about common sense, I think it's pretty clear that you don't go ripping up formal documentation and hiding your identity badge if you really think you are acting in the right. That's some common sense that transcends most cultural boundaries.

> He said he did go to the police and they did in fact ignore him

He said:

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

It very much sounds like he either did this after he got back or over the phone from the hotel.

He did not GO TO THE POLICE. I would have gone to the nearest police station and planted myself in there. If this was as serious as it seems, that would be the only way to handle it. Also, it would be the best way to explain and show his rig to the police.

By his account this was a serious incident and he had all the evidence and witnesses he needed. I would tell the family to go sight-seeing on their own and get my ass over to the nearest police station to deal with it.

I am still waiting for someone to provide an account from a different perspective. Nobody has the full story. It's silly to defend him (or McD) without more data. I am certainly not doing so. I am pointing out that he, in isolation of this event, seems to be quite inconsiderate about forcing his rig onto people's spaces and invading their privacy.

> What if he was a complete jerk?

Even if he was most jerkiest jerk telling sh*t about their mothers nothing justifies physical attack and destruction of property.

If you can't restrain yoursef from physically attacking people and tearing their papers when they open they mouths you shouldn't be working where people are present.

Where did I say that the attack was justified?

I only said that it is quite possible that he is being inconsiderate and inviting friction due to his insistence in forcing his tech upon everyone around him.

What we don't know is what really happened between him and the staff other than his account of it.

I very seriously doubt that someone resorted to physically attacking him out of nowhere (as he seems to present it) without some provocation. That is simply not the way people behave unless they are criminals. There had to be an exchange of some form between them that led to that happening. I can't even speculate as to what took place, but I'll place my bet on that he wasn't an angelical figure that simply got his food and sat down to eat and then, out of nowhere --as he implies-- got attacked. The French are not that crazy.

> Where did I say that the attack was justified?

Where did I say that you've said that the attack was justified?

I just commented on your claim (if I got you properly) that him potentially being a jerk has any relevance to the judgment about what happened.

> I only said that it is quite possible that he is being inconsiderate and inviting friction due to his insistence in forcing his tech upon everyone around him.

He doesn't complain about someone telling him his inconsiderate or giving him a stinkeye. He complains about getting assaulted.

> What we don't know is what really happened between him and the staff other than his account of it.

If he haven't assaulted anyone then this is irrelevant. IMHO as always.

> I very seriously doubt that someone resorted to physically attacking him out of nowhere (as he seems to present it) without some provocation.

I have my close friends very recent account of exactly that kind of situation. She was walking on the sidewalk with her 9mo baby in a stroller. There was a truck across the sidewalk standing and waiting to enter the property via gate that was wide open. She asked the driver to move but he refused. He said he has delivery to make here but he has to wait in front of open gate because the woman who lives here is crazy. Since the curb was high and road wide she decided to wait to talk to the women about the guy at her service blocking the sidewalk. As the women came my friend entered her property and started talking to the women. Women said "Get the fck out.", my friend said "Wait a moment!" then the women grabbed my friend and her stroller and pulled her inside (fortunately baby was properly secured in the stroller otherwise he might fall out during the struggle). Woman told my friend "So now stay here!" locked the gate and walked a way. My friend was in shock and called the Police. As she was talking to the Police the woman yelled again "Get the fck out." and after a while opened the gate. Police came, my friend described the whole situation. Police asked my friend if she wants to formally charge the woman with assault or if she just wants theem to scare her little bit. My friend chose the second option. In her own words, her world view got seriously shaken that day.

I hope that you'll never experience first-hand that physical attack by ordinary people is not always reasonably provoked.

Disclaimer: Story didn't happen in the US. No "my home is may castle" here. If you leave the door open anyone can get in and you can only ask them to leave or call the Police to make them leave.

That story isn't remotely similar.

The woman did not in fact come out of nowhere. McDonald's wouldn't employ mentally ill people in one of the busiest and most famous streets of Paris. And your friend did in fact immediately call the Police and informed them about the assault situation--I'm not sure what Mr Mann did do, but "help me I just got assaulted" is in every "What & How in French" tourist language guide and no way that the police would ignore that. If I'm to take his story at face value he had "no luck contacting the police", which might as well mean the number was busy or something.

I don't think its victim blaming. For example, I would be seriously offended if someone takes my picture without my permission.

Because I don't why they are taking it. Are they spying? Or is that guy a terrorist surveying the place? Or he might just be a guy who would morph my pic and upload that to a wrong a site.

Regardless, if you are wearing a computing device which will assist you do some things its OK. But plainly shooting pictures of unknown people, their premises and property is not something everybody will be comfortable with.

Or, far more likely than all of the above combined, times ten thousand, that person is documenting.

You know, the style of work made famous by artists like Robert Frank, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, Garry Winogrand... or if you want some that are still alive, Bruce Gilden, Daido Moriyama, Trent Parke, Martin Parr, Helen Levitt, Bill Cunningham...

If you haven't had the pleasure of seeing any of this type of work before, I encourage you to look it up and understand that there are entirely non-nefarious reasons for taking a stranger's photo, and in fact this practice is astronomically more likely than terrorists and spies.

... I really wish we didn't live in a society so utterly drenched in constant fear.

And don't wear your skirt so short, you're basically asking for it!

What evidence do you have that he did not provoke the incident?

Don't be so quick to take sides.

If you read my post carefully you'll notice that I did not blame him of the incident. How could I? Not one person reading this knows exactly what went on. People who jump at conclusions based on incomplete evidence scare me.

My comments had to do with manners and common sense. Don't go around rigged like a Borg and expect everyone to accommodate your presence. Be humble and respectful of others and seek permission before invading their privacy. It's that simple.

Completely trashing the victim without taking the time to read anything about who he is—so that you might formulate a real opinion instead of a generic flamewar—could pretty easily be construed as "quick to take sides".

"My comments had to do with manners and common sense." And still they are severely lacking in both.

Why would he decide to escalate to physical violence? There is no evidence that he did and it would not have made sense to do so.

> People don't want cameras pointed at them all the time.

As he explains in the article, the camera does not (when functioning properly) store anything permanently. His photos were only possible when the computer stopped overwriting the buffered images.

I don't think that's an invasion of privacy. Not being familiar with the device, they might not have known that, but that's hardly justification to assault someone. And he certainly wasn't disrespecting anyone's space/privacy.

Not one person being "scanned" would know what the rig is for. It is the responsibility of the wearer to communicate this and ask permission when entering private spaces.

A museum or a public place is a different story. If museum security has an issue then you either leave or take it off.

Even in public there's the concept of decorum. Let's say you have a teenage daughter who is also attractive and some guy stars to follow you a few feet in fron while recording her on video. While probably legal in most parts of the world this behavior is almost guaranteed to cause the videographer a lot of trouble, and rightly so.

Then there are other invasion-of-privacy type issues like people who choose to smoke in public. I recently had the experience of having dinner with my family in the outdoor dining area of a restaurant when a group of youngsters sat at the table next to us and started to smoke. They showed total disregard for the fact that we were being forced to inhale their smoke, even my young kids. We had been there for an hour, they just showed up and we were engulfed in a cloud of smoke. Legal? Yes? Incredibly rude and inconsiderate? Absolutely!

> "It is the responsibility of the wearer to communicate this and ask permission when entering private spaces."

The law says otherwise - and this position is backed up incredibly clearly by copious amounts of case law.

> " Let's say you have a teenage daughter who is also attractive and some guy stars to follow you a few feet in fron while recording her on video. While probably legal in most parts of the world this behavior is almost guaranteed to cause the videographer a lot of trouble, and rightly so."

No, just no. What the fucking fuck? What's wrong with you? What part of "being creepy in public" justifies physical assault?

This is the kind of attitude that results in people getting harrassed at a Parisian MacDonald's. You assume because your daughter is attractive that the stranger must be recording her? There is no innocent explanation? Will you bother verifying your suspicions before flying into a fit of rage at the guy (thereby escalating the entire incident into something quite possibly violent)?

> " Legal? Yes? Incredibly rude and inconsiderate? Absolutely!"

I'm waiting for you to get to the part where this justifies physical assault.

Don't be a douchebag. I get it. What does this have to do with physical violence again? Or are you saying that it is morally correct to assault douchebags? Or, more accurately, to assault people you believe are douchebags, but have not bothered verifying?

One of the fundamental tenets of our free society is the freedom to live without threat of harm or harassment for merely that which is unusual. Those who choose to "be dorks", as you so crudely put it, still have to put up with being ostracized, stereotyped, and distrusted. They should not have to add "fear of physical harm" to that list.

My question to you is this: have you ever belonged to a marginalized group, stereotyped and leered at for your subculture, your race, your sexuality, and more? If you have, you would know how easy it is for much of the population to fly to conclusions about you without even once consulting anyone knowledgeable, least of all yourself.

It is really interesting how those with weak arguments and creative interpretations of what is written resort to personal attacks as their only remaining tool.

I painted a hypothetical scenario where I clearly stated that you have someone a few feet away recording your daughter as you walk down the street. Nowhere in there did I say that I would personally resort to physical violence. I never have in my life. Why are you reading more into it than I have said?

As for the "don't be a dork" bit of advice. I am a dork. Or so says my wife. I am a geek too. Now, the term "dork" can have many meanings. Between dorks it is a little different. When I am doing something stupid or overly geeky my wife will say "You are such a dork!". It is not a pejorative at all. It just means that you are being dumb in a geeky way. Case in point: We had a brush fire in a hill near our house. I took out my RC helicopter, strapped a camera and video transmitter to it and flew it up about 800 feet (not over the fire, people, property or near full scale aircraft) to get a view of what was going on. The fire captain even took advantage of what my video monitor was showing. At the end of that my wife said "You are such a dork!". And she was right.

> I'm waiting for you to get to the part where this justifies physical assault.

And you'll never see that. Again, it's interesting to see how some are choosing to read my comments as though I justify someone getting beaten-up. NOWHERE DO I SAY THAT. READ THE FUCKING POSTS AGAIN.

I am talking about common sense and manners.

This guy decided it was more important to wear all this shit on him while going on a vacation with his daughter? What the hell is wrong with HIM? Unless he is genuinely handicapped (which does not seem to be the case) he is just being an inconsiderate dork. If I go on vacation with my kids I go on vacation with my kids. I might bring some work with me, but it is always in the form of a laptop for coding that I'll only use when they've gone to sleep. I am there for the family and their experience, not to shove my dorky pursuits on their face 24-7.

This isn't even about marginalized groups. IT IS ONLY YOU and others that are choosing to interpret the comments as such. Well, get over it, none of what I said has anything whatsoever to do with marginalized groups at all. It's about the potential of being a jerk by not being in touch with the incursions you might be making into other peoples spaces and privacy. That's all.

> "Why are you reading more into it than I have said?"

Quote: "this behavior is almost guaranteed to cause the videographer a lot of trouble, and rightly so." - you may not yourself resort to violence, but you certainly tried to excuse/justify it.

That isn't a whole lot better.

When, in the context of a thread about alleged physical assault, you say something to the tune of "well, if you do weird/creepy things, bad things will happen, and rightly so", the most obvious interpretation is that you're referring to violence. If you meant something else, you need to disclaim this.

> "Again, it's interesting to see how some are choosing to read my comments as though I justify someone getting beaten-up."

Here we go. You realize that your line of argument is the exact one that comes up inevitably when we talk about other crimes like rape.

When we're talking about certain classes of crimes, most commonly any type of physical assault, excusing the perpetrators in any way is tacit victim-blaming. I realize you seem to think differently, but this is the way you are guaranteed to come across.

There are no "buts" when it comes to physical assault, the perpetrator is in the wrong, full stop. What the victim could have potentially done to prevent the attack is not relevant to the discussion, and people are allergic to this line of reasoning for good reason: 95% of the time when it comes up it's victim-blaming and shifting responsibility away from the criminal.

I'd argue your specific instance of this argument falls into this 95%. In response to "a man was assaulted" you go on about how big of a dork he is, how inconsiderate he is (simply for wearing a strange contraption!), how when a person behaves strangely bad things will happen and rightly so.

How else do you want us to interpret your comments except to draw blame away from the perps?

> "What the hell is wrong with HIM?"

Nothing. As a self-proclaimed geek/dork you ought to understand that.

Or are you that ashamed of your own weirdness, that you will confine it to your home? That you feel the need to be utterly normal when in public, so as not to upset some people's overly-delicate sensibilities?

If author's blog is any accurate, he just finished a whole day of museum touring with his family and enjoying the stereotypical sights and sounds of Paris. If his family doesn't think his contraption is a big deal, the problem is with you for thinking it is.

The world is full of weird and wonderful people, I am very glad they exist. I'm saddened to hear that you feel compelled to bury yours because it may ruffle a few feathers.

> "Well, get over it, none of what I said has anything whatsoever to do with marginalized groups at all"

Person behaving out of expected social norms is attacked for it. How is that not the story of every marginalized group out there? From the LGBT community to the goth community to the BDSM community to, hell, the nerd community?

You seem like a person with geeky inclinations and a predilection for weirdness. Good for you. I challenge you to let your freak flag fly - and observe that 99.9% of the world either celebrates your weirdness or is ambivalent to it, and that 0.1% will fly to a fit of rage for daring to be different.

And that the 0.1% are curmudgeons, irrelevant to anyone. They certainly do not need your impassioned defense.

> It is the responsibility of the wearer to communicate this and ask permission when entering private spaces.

I'm not sure about that. You go on to talk about decorum and respect for the privacy of others. If someone walked into a restaurant with a glass eye or Pistorius-style prosthetics, I would feel rude asking them about it.

Sure, you and I know his camera is reality-augmenting, but if I didn't know about Mann I would probably assume it was a high-tech medical advice I hadn't heard about; I wouldn't simply assume it was a recording device.

In the same way you wouldn't expect Pistorius to walk into a McDonalds and announce why he has an unusual bodily attachment, I'm not sure Mann has to explain his EyeTap.

Granted, there are serious, qualitative difference between EyeGlass and a prosthetic leg; one might be an invasion of privacy, the other definitely isn't.

I think it's clear from the article's description that his EyeTap, which can be used to record pictures/video, is not constantly invading anyone's privacy. He has the choice (and I think we both agree, the obligation) to use it responsibly. If I don't have to announce that I have a camera in my backpack, he doesn't have to announce the camera-features of his permanent eye fixture.

I wouldn't have a problem with it. Then again, I am a techie. I'd probably strike-up a conversation and try to learn as much as I could. But I am not the general public and my guess is that most HN readers would have the same reaction.

The general public might react differently. There are people who are actively fearful of being on Facebook. I know people who have taken down their entire Facebook photo set because of the potential to be connected through the friend-of-friends mechanism. There are also people who view and value their privacy at different levels.

I believe that in France there are laws about publishing someone's images without their permission. This means that, if you presume that someone might take a picture with you in it and then post it to Facebook they could be doing something that you don't want to have happen and that happens to be illegal in France. Splitting hairs to some and a very serious matter to others.

Private establishments might have a responsibility to their customers to provide a certain type of an environment. I don't know French law, maybe there's something there. Whatever the case may be, they have the right to create whatever standard they deem necessary within their property (so long as it is legal). For example, you can't walk into a theater and video record the screen.

For the numskulls who always choose to read their own fantasy into posts: None of the above means that violence is justified without provocation. It takes two to tango and it should also take two for an encounter to turn into a physical altercation.

> It is the responsibility of the wearer to communicate this and ask permission when entering private spaces.

At some point, I feel the need to be pedantic: any healthy human does have a universal recording device: the eye and the brain. But we're all kinda used to it. My guess is, the real reason the "security" guys were pissed off was primal fear of the unknown. They saw a Borg coming in, then they found a likely rationale for messing with him.

Try walking past a security guard in a clown suit, and see what happens. I bet he will find any reason to mess with you but the fact you are wearing a clown suit.

As for the actual privacy problem, wait for the day we'll have recording devices plugged right to the optic nerve.

Well good on you taking a reasoned but unpopular position. I agree that the description of the events seems to leave out a bit, particularly the emotional content of the interactions. The rig does look intimidating and I'm not sure how I'd react in person.

He goes from "we bought our food and sat down to eat it" to "this guy assaulted me". Really? Unless they have complete lunatics at that establishment I find that hard to believe. There's a large series of events before a non-criminal who isn't absolutely insane decides to attack you.

I'd love to see the store's surveillance video and read their account before choosing sides.

It's probably wise for him not to write about those particular moments, especially given that he's dealing with the laws of a foreign country. If it could remotely possibly matter what was said, then he needs to filter that through a lawyer.

There's a large series of events before a non-criminal who isn't absolutely insane decides to attack you.

Firstly, you are demonstrably wrong, and as evidence, I would put forward around 20% of nightclub door security as exhibit A.

Also I would say it is very easy to construct plausible scenarios around this particular story.

"Remove that camera."

  "I can't."
"Stop taking the piss."

  "I'm not, it is all part of a medical experiment."
"I said stop taking the piss and take off the camera."

After this it goes downhill rather rapidly.

This is of course a fiction, from someone with no firsthand knowledge of the situation, but to try and make out that being attacked by security for stupid reasons is an unlikely event that does not happen to lots of people with fairly boring regularity, is an even greater fiction still.

"Second bit of advice: Ask for permission when walking into a private establishment -like a restaurant- with such a rig. It isn't their job to accommodate every nutcase that comes through the door. You are not a nutcase, but your actions may have telegraphed otherwise."

UK Note: anyone planning to attend the Olympics in London; please be careful with home made life blogging equipment of any kind. LEDs, wires, backpacks &c.


This particular McDonalds has been at the centre of SO many protests turned violent, anti-americanist attacks & incidents that I'm pretty sure the staff are permanently suspicious of anything or anyone out of the norm. I too have been to this particular McDonalds & the sheer volume of people that pass through the doors I'm surprised they don't have a more professional security team with the intelligence to differentiate on a customer by customer basis. I also totally agree that any form of photography in Paris (either close up to an individual store front or inside) will cause immediate confrontation.

There is some irony in this story, that McDonalds' objection to recording images in their store actually gave the Eye Glass wearer a reason to use the images captured. An incident was caused by them trying to attempt to viciously stop what they perceived as a threat.

I find it strange that there's no mention of a police report or a complaint to the Canadian embassy.

The reality is that you are assaulting other people's privacy if you wear this glasses.

It does not matter that you have a letter from your doctor, you have to provide a way of switching the thing off.

Me, me, me. What about others? What happens if people don't want to be stalked?.

This man does not realize what he is doing is not only for good, but is going to be used for the bad, to control other people.

This has serious consequences for the people. Very serious , you know what John was doing from 6:00pm to 6:16, where he was, with whom.

The good thing about cities was the personal freedom to do anything without gossip like in a rural village.

In the future you will have central databases with information about what every person is doing on real time, just sending the video feed and using facial recognition technology.

honestly I don't care about their privacy. They work at mcdonalds not fucking NASA, it no secret what a big mac is

NASA is publicly funded and its mission is to extend human knowledge. Why should anything there be more secret than at McDonlads?

Seems to me like he needs to implement a Stephenson style panic button - In Snow Crash, at one point YT used a special button on her phone to summon help from other couriers.

It'd be easy enough to implement technically; when I hit the panic button it notifies all listeners of my location; listeners configure how far away they want reports. (perhaps taking reports from further away from people with higher reputation or from people you manually configure as more important...)

I mean, in the case of Mann, it's easy; if I was nearby and knew he needed physical help, I'd be happy to show up. The problem is for the rest of us, the unknowns, there would need to be some sort of sense of community or something.

It would be fantastic to be able to summon the MIT wearables division in an emergency. Surely one of them has built a Gundam by now. http://www.wearcam.org/computing.html/borgs_outside_medialab...

hah. yeah. but I think the most powerful thing (and this could be implemented with cellphones) is just being able to summon witnesses, esp. witnesses with cameras.

It seems that these days wars are more about how it looks in the media than about killing as many of the other guys as you can. Just knowing that they are being watched, I think, would prevent most violent crime.

McDonald's has a policy of not allowing photography in their stores. Clearly in this case there seems to have been an overreaction, they should have just politely but firmly asked him to leave.

McDonand's does not publish any direct contact email information

So do it the old fashioned way. Get out a pen, paper, and stamp. Probaly have better results anyway. Here are the people in charge: http://www.aboutmcdonalds.com/mcd/our_company/leadership.htm.... Their address, from their "contact us" web page, is McDonald's Corporation, 2111 McDonald's Dr., Oak Brook, IL 60523

This is really simple: don't eat at McDonald's. If you don't want a hysterical society where people get beaten up while minding their own business, then please do not reward them with your money.

Go to Paris. Eat at a McDonald's. o_O

Maybe it's a fast meal at midday when there are still places to go, and a good meal in the evening to wind down.

I spent sometime in Lyon last summer, the cafes aren't too slow when you want to grab a bite to eat. However, I can only assume one would go to McDonald's to get a Royale with Cheese ;)

I love eating fast food in other countries. It's always different from home and that fascinates me.

Sure, I'm much more keen to enjoy 'proper' food from the country I'm visiting, but there's still a place for experiencing fast food.

Why not Quick then?


Anybody else notice that this is blocked as "spammy" on Facebook?

Getting the same thing here. I did find an acknowledgement from Facebook regarding blocking imgur.com 8 hours ago (http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/wo8ej/facebook_h...), but blocking EyeTap seems suspicious.

same thing here

Sadly, I predicted this would happen years ago. Fear of Photography vs. Next Generation Prosthetics.

The way technology and society work, I expect that visual prosthetics will eventually have built-in recording restrictions and classified as medical devices, thus making people with photophobia feel safe, or they will jump into the mainstream so fast (ala Google) that society will get used to it. Having an unobtrusive appearance would help, but I don't hold much hope for the latter.

I can't help but think, anonymous is the right kind of people to deal with this incident. Given he is willing to publish photos without masking faces.

What about simple sale of illicit goods ? That would warrant a response like this. With so many people in and out it would be easy to slip something in with the orders. It isn't the first time it's happened, either.


Why are we discussing this on HN?

If you were assaulted, file a police report. If your private property was damaged, hire a lawyer or file a small claims lawsuit.

part of the problem might also be McDonald's nazi-like controlling strategy - in our business class a McDonalds owner came in couple months ago and told a lot about his 2 McDonalds locations in New England. Basically, owners of McDonalds don't own real estate, so that if McDonald's corporation doesn't like the owner they can make the owner out and change owner through an auction. McDonald's can send undercover people to check quality of service at any time, and if they don't like something - number of checks double and warning to owner is given, so that if owner doesn't improve, the headquarters will change the owner.

McDonalds is very very dependent on its reputation, because if there are problems with one location, other locations suffer as well. So, spreading this case more would allow him to get remedy.

I believe that it is possible to sue McDonalds headquarters for such shit. One woman successfully sued McDonalds for a few millions for spilled hot coffee.

Please look for a free consultation from a good lawyer, who might want to work for a percent from the case remedy.

A bit off-topic, but I couldn't even get to the linked article, even after allowing all javascript I could find. Web really has gone to hell.

Surely the only take-away from this is that McDonald's is a terrible place. Didn't we all know that already?

It's still helpful to try and do as much damage as possible with this story (ideally getting some money or at least an apology for the victim), but make no mistake that the company structure will make this vanish into the æther in no time.

The long-term solution: just don't go there.

Do we all know that? Is it true?

I have had hundreds of meals at McDonalds and never witnessed anything like this. The staff have been pleasant and helpful, the environment clean, and the food as advertised. "Terrible," seems ridiculously hyperbolic to me.

'as advertised' - there's ya terrible.

Regardless of whether MacDonald's is the salvation of the human race or the reincarnation of Nazi-ism... I think it's pretty obvious that this wasn't some plot from corporate to beat up guys weiring eyeglasses that are medically integrated with their body.

It's the unordered work of some violent thugs, though their motive remains to be seen (or even if they're actual employees or something else).

This is an outrageous assault and battery. This is a criminal act. I hope the police are involved and arrests are made.

Steve Mann is the father of wearable computer. I remember seeing him as a undergrad in MIT wearing those clumsy camera and computer at the belt. He is the pioneer in real cyborg tech.

I can`t accept the story without questioning the part with the buffer. I looked at the pictures and thought, this buffer must have been very huge to record all those images. Watching the full buffer content would be interesting.

It seems that he removed or never stored related images on his glogger profile.


If you think McDonald's is liable for assaulting you, bring a suit. If you lack the resources to bring a suit, by all means complain and stop shopping at McDonald's.

But how much else is there to say, really?

What will be really interesting is when he brings his recording device into somewhere people get naked, like a locker room...that isn't going to go well with a lot of people.

Random tidbit from the article - HDR photography is patented.

What is wrong about taking pics at mcdonalds, Im confused..

If the normal channels of bureaucracy don't find this man justice, I'm sure the internet will.

All hail the internet!

Assuming everything the OP says about the incident is true, why would the French police not help ?

Facebook don't allow to put this link in a comment, it's strange

Stop watching Breaking Bad, people.

There's no question that Perp-1 and Perp-2 were assholes and had no right to do whatever they did. But the sheer naivety and entitlement in this story really makes me shake my head in disbelief. Maybe he just doesn't have any experience travelling abroad?

What about his travel insurance? He doesn't mention that at all. He got assaulted and his expensive medical equipment broken. He even got photographic evidence! Sounds like a clear-cut case that any decent travel insurance would cover. He did check with his insurance agency whether they cover his eyeglasses, right? And if they did not, he must have surely insured them separately before travelling abroad, right? So, what is this "I'm not seeking to be awarded money. I just want my Glass fixed" about then?

Did he really bring an expensive piece of medical equipment on your vacation abroad, without properly insuring it?

And what about this "letter from my doctor"? Anyone notice how his excruciatingly detailed report is rather quiet on this matter, he doesn't even mention anything like "which explains that I require these glasses for health reasons" (which would be the only time when a "letter from my doctor" would carry any weight). Or whether it includes a French translation. I know this because I have, on occasion, had to bring certain medications over the border (to Turkey, a non-Schengen country). It's not "a letter from my doctor", it's a multi-lingual form you need to request at the embassy of the country you're going, which your doctor fills in, signs and stamps--I was informed that in Turkey, the bureaucrats won't accept forms that are not stamped, and I assume that every country has its peculiarities like that. I brought three copies to be on the safe side, one for in my suitcase in my hotel, one for in my wallet to always have with me, and a third one for "just in case" I gave to a travel companion. Overkill maybe, but it's those little details that can make the difference between a minor inconvenience and a disaster, when on holiday.

As far as his description is concerned his letter might as well have been a postcard with "Hi Steve, have fun on your vacation! Hope your glasses don't break. Greetings, your friend the nameless Doctor, MD.".

There's a few other parts of the story where details are somewhat lacking. (I'm mostly noticing because he's being rather tediously detailed about all sorts of irrelevant things, such as the meal he ordered)

What exactly happened when things turned bad? His story makes it seem like Perp-1 came out of the blue and "angrily grabbed my eyeglass, and tried to pull it off my head", really? And he later states "struck my Eye Glass, not a direct hit like a punch in the face, but a side-swipe, grabbing motion", a separate event implying that he and his family actually stuck around after having been assaulted from behind to see if they had any more where that came from? You're in a cheap "restaurant" in a foreign country, people are being aggressive, you get the fuck out. It's a McDonalds, not a US Embassy. The meals may be molecularly identical, but you're not in the US. And, apparently, uninsured.

He also does not mention whether there were any words exchanged as things got heated. Did they ask him to leave? Did Mr Mann say or explain anything? His daughter speaks French, did she step in and try to mend the situation? French people do have a habit of speaking rather fast and incomprehensible as they get more annoyed, so maybe her French did not suffice. In which case, you're a tourist in a hostile situation, not speaking the language, and it's probably smart to leave.

Also it seems pretty obvious that Perp-2 was not a McDonalds employee (notice the shades in his hair and the "meal" in front of him). The most logical explanation would seem to be that Perp-2 was a (minor) celebrity, complaining about a possible paparazzi tabloid photographer (who are known for doing weirder things than wearing silly cameraglasses). Doesn't make it right, but tabloid photographers sometimes get treated very similarly.

What about "I also contacted the Embassy, Consulate, Police, etc., without much luck". Sounds like that aspect adventure should have been at least half of his story. No word about contacting his travel insurance agent. They should have a 24/7 world-wide hotline, especially when it concerns, er, "medical emergencies", such as, you know, damage to your expensive highly specialized medical equipment that you really need to carry on you at all times as your properly filled out, stamped and translated paperwork clearly shows.

I can't believe he actually spent more words on how he tried to contact McDonalds than what the embassy, consulate, police and his travel insurance agent had to say. He actually called a US 1-800 number to speak to a McDonalds rep?! What good did he expect that would do? Is that how you do it in the US? "Take on a branch of a large multi-national corporation operating in a distant country", take them on about what? You can't possibly expect them to take responsibility for this, that is why other countries also have police and laws and such, and you go to them. For example, let's say you go to Somalia (in case Mr Mann is reading: please don't actually do this), it's practically anarchy there, not much of a state to speak of. Say you find a McDonald's restaurant, you go there, and you get beaten up and mugged by the staff there. Would you then also call this US 1-800 number and complain to the US branch of McDonald's and say "I went to one of your establishments in Somalia and I got mugged!" ?

What I would do in his case:

1. As soon as I get out of the restaurant, call the travel insurance hotline, who would probably tell me to:

2. Go to the police, file a report of physical assault and property damage. There is no "luck" involved. File the report, you get a piece of paper, and that is your only business with the French police. There is very little you can do about bringing justice to the McD employees, so forget about them.

3. The piece of paper report is the evidence you need to make the claim with your travel insurance agency. Those photographs will also come in handy.

4. They either pay out or not. If not, consider getting better insurance and try reading your insurance policy to see if they cover damages done to your eyeglasses in cases of physical assault. But if they don't cover even that, I really wonder what they do cover. The biggest question is probably whether the glasses are more expensive than a certain maximum limit coverage. But that's really something you should take into account before leaving abroad with really expensive and fragile medical equipment on your face.

4b. There is a possibility where your travel insurance company will want the details of whoever assaulted you, to see if they can make a deal with their liability insurance, if those are mandated in France. The police report should also help with that. This will make things quite a bit more tedious, but still relatively straight-forward, as you know who it is and where he works.

5. End of story. Notice how nobody needed to "take on a foreign branch of a multi-national corporation" ...

Complete aside - Comment about posted pictures from Digital Eye Glass

I noticed from his posted pictures (labelled as Possible Witness 2) http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-RnoG7dHRDjY/UASnGzPFkSI/AAAAAAAAAD...

There's some nasty spherical lensing effects there. I'm noticing that from the signboard on the right middle side. The menuboard should be flat across, with perhaps a deviation of where the signage isnt exactly flush to each other. Also in other pictures, you can see spherical lensing distortion from the corners of walls and ceiling tiles.

I know of libraries that take low compute overhead that compensate for this. And all you need for calibration is a checkerboard of white and black waved around.

This could be intentional, as it may increase his peripheral vision through the Eye Glass.

It may also be corrected when the image is projected into his eye.

Can't wait for the Anonymous to hack and publish McDonalds' mail systems.

As a side benefit, we might learn what kind of turd they're feeding to people.

they will not move a finger. unless you say perpetrator 1 proceeded to kick a cat.

> visit Paris

> go to McDonald's

As someone who has actually done this (I was with my parents), I can tell you that the Parisian McDonald's is, in fact, different from the American one.

I think that the one in Beijing was different, too, but I didn't get to go into that one.

He was traveling with his kids.

... which is probably one of the best reasons you shouldn't go to MacDonald's.

guys, did they blocked the link on facebook ? http://www.lize.it/up/blockedOnFb.png


You should delete that right away. What good do you think is going to come of putting his home address, phone number, and wife's name (!?!?!) on the internet?

It is already on the internet, blame google and bing for making it easy to find.

EDIT ADD It is also on facebook, and so many other places. Googling his for i email address is a hard one to find but pulls up that address alot.

So write him a letter saying that attacking a disabled person infront of his family is just not acceptable.

Oh you bunch of drama lama's - I deleted it though I'll repeat his email address:

CEO's email address jim.skinner@us.mcd.com

But seriously his home address along with the other mcdonals executives are a 5 year olds googling efforts away. I reveled nothing new that was not liberly plastered all over the internet.

Maybe if they handled complaints better then people would not have to write to them directly and or sue them directly, food for thought.

If its so easy to find the information, there was no real need to post it here then.

Nor any harm, given nobody else had then it's relevance was tangable. Just appears people by default assume others are crazed nutters, but in my country we have not assasinated any of our Prime ministers and dont carry guns so the cultural aspect of such information is embrassed in the spirit it is bestowed - in good faith.

Flag the comment, moderators should delete immediately. Perhaps the most inappropriate thing I've seen posted at HN before.

I deleted it. happy now?

Downvoting and flagging the comment for personal information.

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