The U.S. government just threw another log on the fire, adding to the blaze of paranoia it’s been generating around the nation’s newest threat — foreign cyber attacks. In a memo sent out July 19, Pentagon employees were told to keep Pokemon Go off their phones to prevent spying by foreign countries.
According the The Washington Times, an anonymous source told Inside the Ring the memorandum “warned all officials and defense contractors that playing Pokemon Go, the hugely popular Japanese video game, poses a potential a security risk to secure and sensitive facilities.”
The hugely popular augmented reality game, an app downloaded and played on smartphones, took the world by storm in the beginning of July as millions scrambled to capture little digital creatures within days of its launch. According to the Pentagon’s source, security concerns quickly arose:
“Pokemon Go uses the Global Positioning System satellite network for maps of areas around the handheld mobile devices that utilize the application. Pentagon security officials are concerned the data obtained playing the game could provide pinpoint accuracy on the locations of rooms and other sensitive facilities where secrets are stored. The game also could provide personal data on Pentagon officials with access to secrets, information that could be used in cyber attacks or spying recruitment attempts. Pokemon Go employs Google Maps to place users within a real-world city location and then shows a figure of the game player on the map.”
Ironically, smartphone apps like Google Maps, Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, and others have not been banned despite the treasure trove of personal information and location-tracking data the platforms collect. The Pentagon even bragged to the press when Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter joined Facebook last year.
The Pokemon Go ban adds to the years-long fear mongering the government has rolled out following high-profile cyber attacks. Cyber surveillance bills like CISPA (2.0, 3.0) and SOPA have been sold to the public asreactionary solutions to those problems. It is obvious that the government and its agencies will look for every opportunity to scare the American people into begging for protection from any boogeyman they can piece together.