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ewmon

Physical assault on Steve Mann by McDonald's for wearing Digital Eye Glass

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On 2012 July 1, a man wearing computer-assisted spectacles was assaulted by staff in a Parisian McDonald's, who tried to pull the glasses off his head then threw him out of the restaurant, according to a blog post written by the victim.

 

The McDonald's staff seemed angered by the high-tech vision-ware worn by Dr Steve Mann who is an academic at the University of Toronto and an expert in wearable computing. Mann has worn the computer-assisted spectacles, known as the EyeTap Digital Eye Glass, pictured below, for 13 years.

 

tumblr_m7br1oaqrw1qamsdb.jpg

 

Okay, being a geek is no reason for the rough treatment, but maybe they didn't like having their picture taken.

 

Any other thoughts, comments or speculations?

Edited by ewmon

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Who cares what their motivation was?

Hunt them down and prosecute them for assault and property damage.

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I thought motive was quite an important part of a prosecution. Without it 'reasonable doubt' could easily get the defendant off the hook unless theres obvious evidence that it was them (i.e. clear security/surveillance footage).

 

Needless to say, the motivation behind the act would be interesting none the less, regardless of whether it justifies it or not.

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Who cares what their motivation was?

Hunt them down and prosecute them for assault and property damage.

In a proper trial, the defendants need a lawyer too. I'll play that role here (pro bono).

 

The portable video camera of Dr. Steve Mann constitutes a threat to the operations of McDonalds, as it was seen as a tool to record the service and quality at this particular McDonalds for the purpose of an anti-McDonalds campaign. This also constitutes a direct threat to the employees who are often employed with temporary contracts. Obviously, a single mistake on youtube from their side is the end of their job - especially if it goes viral.

 

A physical assault however is wrong, and the defendant will plea guilty. However, it was provoked by Dr Steve Mann. :)

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A physical assault however is wrong, and the defendant will plea guilty. However, it was provoked by Dr Steve Mann. :)

 

To add to that, it is highly likely that such a case is under reported or reported with a bias and it is not yet known how provoked this assault actually was. Pending investigation it could be anything from unprovoked attack to self defense for all we know.

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I understand that Dr Mann had a camera.

Lack of objective evidence shouldn't be a problem here. (Thought I grant you that we have only seen one side here which is unfortunate.) That's the point of tracking the people down and bringing them to trial; you see both sides.

 

Recording the level of service in a burger joint is not a threat to their business.

If presenting the information about service to a wide audience adversely affects their business then it is their poor service that is a threat- not the act of recording it.

 

 

"I thought motive was quite an important part of a prosecution."

Not really, whatever their motivation was, their actions are apparently inexcusable.

If the evidence shows that they attacked him then it's assault or whatever the relevant term is in France.

If, for example, the security video showed that he started it then it's self defence. That may make a difference to the defence- but not to the prosecution.

The motive may affect the sentencing, but that's another matter.

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It sounds similar to cases where pet chimps have attacked their owners, because the owner changed their appearance significantly, and it angers/scares the chimp. I suspect the McDonald worker's brain processed the situation in a similar way. blink.gif

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It sounds similar to cases where pet chimps have attacked their owners, because the owner changed their appearance significantly, and it angers/scares the chimp. I suspect the McDonald worker's brain processed the situation in a similar way. blink.gif

 

 

Then again maybe the pink slime had turned green and they were afraid he would be able to see it with his new fangled eye wear...

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If they didn't like being photographed, they could have just asked him to leave. I'm not sure what the law is in France.

 

Maybe he asked someone of they were Sarah Connor, and they freaked out. The guy is a frikkin' cyborg.

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At least in America, motive is not required to be shown or proven (such as "Son of Sam" and other weirdly- or randomly-motivated cases); otherwise, some criminals could commit random crimes with impunity.

 

I think Iota93 has a point especially as, at least stereotypically, the French are portrayed as being xenophobic. They have this preservation-of-the-French-language attitude, and is it really true what they say about the French being standoffish??

 

Yeah, if I ran a business to the public, I'd feel flattered that someone was recording our operation, whether we were landscapers, restaurateurs, etc. Yet, major league sports and entertainment professionals sometimes have clauses on their tickets or in the broadcasting about prohibiting the recording of the event.

 

Funny though, that the device in question saves the images only(?) if damaged.

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I think Iota93 has a point especially as, at least stereotypically, the French are portrayed as being xenophobic. They have this preservation-of-the-French-language attitude, and is it really true what they say about the French being standoffish??

I didn't find Parisians to be xenophobic or standoffish. I think they may resent people who assume English is everyone's preferred language, but they aren't alone in that. I think they have some cultural formalities that many foreigners don't respect, and that may make them seem xenophobic. I do know that stores in France (not sure if restaurants are included) don't have the same "the customer is always right" mentality they do in the US. Shopkeepers, even if they aren't the owners, rule their shops and the customers bow to their expertise. For instance, it's considered very rude to grab clothing off the rack to try on in the fitting room without asking permission first.

 

That said, I think the employees at the McDonald's didn't really think things through in this situation, or they had a lot to hide. Why would someone trying to secretly film misdeeds wear something so obvious when there's so much undetectable surveillance gear? I'm sure they were protecting their store (and their jobs) but the letter should have explained things (unless they couldn't read English?). Tearing up the letter was simply childish, and attempting to remove something attached to someone's head is unconscionable for a fast food employee. Even in the US they would have had the right to refuse service to anyone, but getting physical is way out-of-bounds, and I can't imagine France is any different. You call the cops if someone won't leave your store, you don't bounce them yourself unless they pose a threat to your other customers.

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Not that I ever envisaged defending mcdonald's - but the restaurant (i think that is almost completely the wrong word) is highly likely to be private property, you have an implied licence to enter that property to buy crap food etc, if the owner or his agent asks you to leave or to stop filming then I would make an argument that your licence has been revoked. At that point you could be thought of as trespassing and your only course of action should be to leave; you have no right to enter and remain on mcdonald's property nor to film their employees. If you refuse to leave then the police could be called to effect your removal or possibly in some circumstances staff would be might be justified in blocking further ingress and with a minimum of force effecting egress. big corporatiosn would normally, and very sensibly, instruct their staff (at least those outside security) not to do anything of the sort - but that is mainly to avoid the negative publicity of being sued or a media-splash rather than fear of anything worse.

 

Completely at a tangent It is a very worrying development that property law is being used to clamp down on individual liberties but it happening all the time now - huge swathes of previously public spaces are now private property with a revocable implied licence. Jeremy Waldron has written extensively and disturbingly about the change from public to private spaces and the fact that this puts many homeless people/travellers/roma into an immediate and unavoidable conflict with the law merely by existing1

 

 

1. Jeremy Waldron Homelessness and the Issue of Freedom 39 UCLA Law Rev 295 1991-1992

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Recording the level of service in a burger joint is not a threat to their business.

If presenting the information about service to a wide audience adversely affects their business then it is their poor service that is a threat- not the act of recording it.

Of course it is. Video material enables cherrypicking in an extreme way. These people serve burgers and fries all day and may be excellent at their jobs. But if a single mistake is filmed and becomes popular, their reputation is ruined. A video is not objective. And editing can make it even worse.

 

That said, from my own experience at McD's, they have a lot to worry about, because the service is indeed quite often poor.

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Cherrypicking may be a threat. Videoing still isn't.

There isn't any real difference between me saying the service was bad and me showing a video that indicates that the service was bad. Both could be misleading.

 

In any event, there's no real reason to suppose that his intention was to do anything but go to McD's to eat. Accordingly, there was little reason to ask him to leave (Though that is, of course, still the right of the owner or their agent).

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