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United Airlines to Google Glass wearer: Take off high-tech specs

Woman who was ticketed for wearing Glass while driving says airline's request that she remove the device is a "reptilian reaction at its best."

Abadie took this photo using her phone instead of Glass. Cecilia Abadie

Cecilia Abadie has a knack for getting into weird situations with her Google Glass specs. She already famously got ticketed for wearing Glass while driving. She fought the charge and won. Her latest Glass escapade involves United Airlines.

Abadie reports on her Google+ page that she was asked by a flight attendant to remove her wearable device due to "security concerns." She complied, but then took a photo of the inside of the plane using her phone instead, and shared that image with her more than 5,000 Google+ followers.

Abadie says she inquired if the Glass removal request was part of United policy and was told it was covered under the airline's photo and video policy, which is included in the in-flight magazine. She does note "that the flight attendant was a really nice person trying to do her job." She attributes the request to issues with education and perception about Google Glass, calling it a "reptilian reaction at its best."

The United policy, as stated in the magazine, reads that the use of any device for photography or video recording is only allowed for "capturing personal events." It prohibits photography or videography of other passengers or airline staff without their express permission. It also prohibits capturing images, audio recordings, or videos of airline procedures and aircraft equipment without permission from United.

This is a pretty broad policy that could easily be stretched to cover the use of any device with camera or recording capabilities, like smartphones or tablets. Abadie told the flight attendant about how she used her phone to upload a photo, but wasn't asked to put the phone away.

Though it's just as easy to take a photo inside a plane with a phone as it is with Google Glass, Glass has raised more privacy hackles, perhaps because of the very different form factor and that it can be left on at all times. It's easy to see if someone is holding up a phone to take a picture. It's more ambiguous when you're dealing with Glass. Tell us your thoughts in the comments. Should Glass be singled out for this sort of treatment?

Cecilia Abadie around the time of her driving ticket. One Minute News screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

(Via Android and Me)