Chi­nese fears over Poke­mon se­cu­rity

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

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

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