Anti-piracy night vision

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The Times reports that German theater security is using night vision goggles in an attempt to detect people pirating the new Harry Potter movie:
Keep your hands where we can see them! Warner Bros. Pictures is resorting to drastic measures to prevent unauthorized video recordings of its newest Harry Potter epic. Security guards in Germany have been using night vision goggles in theaters running Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to find camcorders that might be otherwise hard to spot once the theater lights are off.

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Warner has since officially acknowledged the use of the surveillance gear. The company said that it was restricted to 10 theaters that have been known to be visited by pirates armed with camcorders before. Security guards don't take any video recordings of the audience, and theaters clearly warn customers about the measures, it told the German press. A theater owner told reporters that Warner threatened to stop the distribution of any future titles to her theater if she hadn't agreed to the measure, according to a report by Die Welt.

Seems like being a theater employee in Germany is a lot cooler than it was when I was a kid. As far as privacy goes, I seem to remember that movie theaters are not infrequently used as make out venues. That might make things a bit more interesting...

P.S. This seems like totally reasonable law enforcement practice.

2 Comments

I don't think privacy is affected (at least not in the legal sense) if there's no recording. If recording takes place, it's a criminal offence, but without that, where's the problem?

They do it in Hong Kong too. The theater in my neighbourhood sends employees a couple of times per show with a night-vision device. They go down to the last seats, face the public, and scan the seats. Then they leave. Dunno if it's really efficient though, since you can see them coming anyway.

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