Authorities in Iran banned the Pokemon Go app because of unclarified “security concerns.” The decision escalated up to the High Council of Virtual Spaces, the official body that oversees online activity.
Specific reasons are not clear but, according to BBC, it swirls around the willingness of Niantic to work with the country’s authorities. Iran becomes the first state to ban Niantic’s world trend. There will be no virtual Pokemon in the streets of Teheran, no gyms to conquer and no Pokestops to refill the stash.
The country follows some other nations in expressing worries about the safety risks the game is raising. New technology will always cause controversy, especially when it has the potential of changing the world.
— Nintendo Prime (@NintyPrime) August 5, 2016
Governments have security concerns regarding the game
Pokemon Go is already available in most countries of the world, furthering its status as a global phenomenon. Needless to say, it is the most downloaded app in both Google and Apple stores nowadays. In fact, people spend most of their on-line time playing Pokémon Go.
However, hunting down virtual monsters in real-life places through the screen of a mobile device may prove problematic at the very least. Users deeply submerged in the virtual reality can often forget their actual, physical surroundings.
On July 18 in Baltimore, U.S, when a man crashed into a parked police car while playing the game.
On July 19, a group of 20 teen poke-trainers stole a boat to “catch ’em all” on a lake in Liverpool, U.K. The group abandoned the ship in the lake after people called the authorities. It would be sad if they only found Magikarps.
In New Jersey, firefighters had to rescue a woman stuck in a cemetery tree while playing the VR game. The fire chief issued a public warning afterward.
On July 14, two men in California fell 108 ft (33m) off a cliff marked with a “No Trespassing” sing. Luckily, rescue teams got them in time to a hospital where they are recovering.
Other governments have taken minor steps. Indonesia banned police officers from playing the game during duty, while New York said they would prohibit 3,000 sex offenders from playing Pokemon Go to safeguard children who play the game.
Pokémon Go meets the ugly part of the world
The world is full of wonderful cities, but sadly, there are a lot of dangerous places. However, people that are too excited with the game forget that.
As was the case of Jerson Lopez de Leon, aged 18. He and his cousin were playing the game in Guatemala City when a group of criminals attacked them. The incident took place on July 20 leaving Jason dead and his cousin severely injured.
Pokémon Go is not a game. It is an adventure that combines the real and the digital world. The problem is people do not understand they are not catching digital monsters on their phones. They are catching them in real life with their phones, and that is very different.
The app is already available in South America where many of the most dangerous cities in the world are located.