Chinese fears over Pokemon security
BEIJING: Not everyone loves Pokemon Go, the mobile game that has become an instant hit around the world since a limited release just a week ago.
The augmented reality game, in which players walk around real-life neighbourhoods to hunt and catch virtual cartoon characters on their smartphone screens, has been blamed in the US for several robberies of distracted cellphone users and car crashes.
A US senator has asked the developers of the game to clarify its data privacy protections.
And although the game is not available in China, the world’s biggest smartphone and online gaming market, some people there fear it could become a Trojan horse for offensive action by the US and Japan.
“Don’t play Pokemon Go!!!” said user Pitaorenzhe on Chinese microblogging site Weibo. “It’s so the US and Japan can explore China’s secret bases!”
The conspiracy theory is that Japan’s Nintendo, which part owns the Pokemon franchise, and America’s Google can work out where Chinese military bases are by seeing where users can’t go to capture Pokemon characters.
The game relies on Google services such as Maps.
The theory is that if Nintendo places rare Pokemon in areas where they see players aren’t going, and nobody attempts to capture the creature, it can be deduced that the location has restricted access and could be a military zone.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said he was unaware of reports that the game could be a security risk and that he didn’t have time to play with such things. – Reuters