San Francisco bar bans Google Glass for fear of secret recordings

A visitor uses the Google Glass at the Mobile World Congress, the world's largest mobile phone trade show, in Barcelona, Spain. Privacy concerns have prompted some businesses to prohibit them.
(Manu Fernandez / Associated Press)

A bar popular with a high-tech crowd in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood has banned patrons from wearing Google Glass, the local CBS station in the city reports.

A sign posted at the Willows at Folsom and 12th streets features a picture of the wearable computer with the familiar red circle and a slash over it, along with a message saying customers “have expressed concerns with being recorded while enjoying themselves.”

The device, which combines many of the functions of a smartphone, has aroused fears of privacy intrusions. It has also become a target of critics who say it symbolizes the tech elite’s negative effects on working-class neighborhoods, KPIX-TV Channel 5 says.


The prohibition follows a claim by a social media consultant that she was attacked at the Lower Haight bar Molotov’s for wearing Glass. Others disputed the consultant’s account, which set off a social media backlash, and she has since attempted to leverage the incident for a Google-sponsored trip to the South by Southwest festival.

The SFist reports that Molotov’s also has put up a sign banning the use of recording devices. The Willows’ owner, Tim Ryan, told Business Insider his new policy is in reaction to what happened at Molotov’s.

Ryan also told Business Insider the Google Glass ban applies to The Willows’ sister restaurant in the Mission District, the Sycamore.


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