Governments Worry Pokémon Go Could Threaten National Security

Governments Worry Pokémon Go Could Threaten National Security

What you need to know

Indonesia has already started banning the game, even though it is not available yet in the country.

Although Pokémon Go, the wildly popular augmented reality (AR) mobile game, has yet to launch in Southeast Asia, governments in the region have already started monitoring the game.

The Indonesian government has already banned the game from the presidential palace, as well as other government offices, military bases, and police stations. Military personnel and police have been ordered not to play the game while on duty.

The governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, said that any civil servant caught playing any games during work would face salary cuts; Yuddy Chrisnandi, director of the Ministry of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform, has barred all civil servants against playing the game while at work to avoid compromising state secrets.

Indonesia’s State Intelligence Agency Chief Sutiyoso has also warned the public against playing the game around government offices and the presidential palace.

The Jakarta Globe reported that a leaked advisory memo from the Indonesian Military and the National Police warned that the game could be used to gather sensitive government information and gain access to top-secret data, as Pokémon Go uses a real-time camera and GPS services.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar has said that they would monitor the game for “elements of gambling or inciting hatred” before deciding whether it would be banned in the country.

In Japan, where the game was released on July 22, Hiroshima City has asked Niantic, the company that created the game, to remove the Peace Memorial Museum from the game out of respect for the victims of the Hiroshima atomic bombing.

Hiroshima wants the location removed by Aug. 6, before a commemoration is held on the anniversary of the bombing. Nagasaki has also asked for its peace park and museum to be removed from the game.

Niantic has said that it will not release any third party discussions, but has granted the request of the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. to be removed.

First Editor: Olivia Yang
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole