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Google Glass blamed for melee in SF bar

Questions of privacy arise after a woman says she was "verbally and physically assaulted" for wearing the device in a San Francisco bar.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin wearing Google Glass.
James Martin/CNET

It's likely this story is one of the first of many similar incidents to come: a person walks into a bar wearing Google Glass and gets booted by annoyed patrons.

Such is the case of tech writer Sarah Slocum, who also alleges she was robbed and assaulted.

Slocum was hanging out at the gritty rock bar Molotov's in San Francisco's Lower Haight neighborhood last Friday night showing her friends the $1,500 Google Glass she had been loaned, according to CBS San Francisco. When she demonstrated the video function, two women apparently accosted her and a man tore the wearables from her face -- hence, mayhem ensued.

"OMG so you'll never believe this but...I got verbally and physically asaulted[sic] and robbed last night in the city, had things thrown at me because of some wanker Google Glass haters, then some *bleeeeeeeeeep* tore them off my face and ran out with them then and when I ran out after him his *bleeeeeeep* friends stole my purse, cellphone walet[sic] and everything," Slocum posted on her Facebook page.

Slocum got her Glass back but wasn't able to recover her purse and phone, according to CBS San Francisco.

The point of tension at Molotov's was the fact that Slocum was possibly recording people with Glass without their permission -- an issue that has come up repeatedly since the Web giant unveiled the device.

Google Glass is the company's foray into a wearable computer. The device comes in the form of eyeglasses that can record videos, take photos, chat, get directions, look up facts on the Web, and more. Last year, a few thousand people were able to get their hands on Glass, but it hasn't yet been mass distributed. Even with a small amount of users, drivers have already been arrested for wearing Glass and casinos and some bars have banned the device.

While many people are wowed by the technology behind Glass, opposition against the device appears to be growing. One Web site called "Stop The Cyborgs" was founded in response to Glass, and other wearables, and the issues they present when it comes to privacy.

"Wearable devices socially normalise ubiquitous surveillance," the site writes. "That is they create a society where we expect to be recorded, where every moment to is shared, documented and data-mined."

For its part, Google is trying to train Glassers on best practices when it comes to public use of the device. Last week, the company released a dos and don'ts guide for Glass use. Some of the guidelines include asking for permission to use the device in public, don't expect to wear Glass and be ignored, and don't be "creepy or rude (aka, a 'Glasshole')."