Indonesia has ordered police not to play "Pokemon Go" while on duty and will soon ban military personnel as well. The armed forces chief warned the game was a security threat.
Indonesia's police and military have enacted a ban on their personnel, preventing them from playing the virtual-reality game "Pokemon Go," while also stressing that their premises were off limits to other gamers. The ban came after a 27-year-old French national was placed under arrest for several hours earlier this month after he had accidentally entered a military base while playing the treasure hunt-style game in the town of Cirebon in West Java.
"We are worried that officers will get addicted to the game and forget to do their job to serve people. The job requires hard work and concentration," national police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar said when announcing the ban.
"We have to be cautious against those who may use 'Pokemon Go' as a disguise for other purposes," he added.
Amar cited the threat of militant attacks, citing a suicide bombing at a police station in the city of Solo earlier this month as an example. One police officer was reportedly injured during the attack.
Ban to be extended to all military
The ban will be extended to all on-duty military service members as well, in a bid to protect high-security sites, military spokesman Tatang Sulaiman told the AFP news agency. Navy chief Admiral Ade Supandi meanwhile said that Indonesian Navy personnel had already been prohibited from playing the game.
The game superimposes characters onto real locations using satellite data and other technology on smartphones
"It's not allowed for security reasons," he said.
"The game uses GPS and video streaming and sends location details," he added according to the Indonesian news website, Viva.
Indonesian Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu also stressed that the gaming capabilities of "Pokemon Go" could be extended to spying activities.
"Spying can come in different forms," he said.
"At first, [Pokemon Go] appears cute but the longer you see (...) it is just not right."
A database of user locations
Nintendo's augmented reality game has become a worldwide hit since it was launched earlier this month and has already been blamed for a series of crimes, traffic violations and complaints in cities around the globe. Pokemon Go has not yet been launched officially in Indonesia, however it is possible to download the game illegally.
Players catch and interact with Pokemon characters on their smartphones that appear superimposed onto real physical locations through their device's camera. The game uses GPS settings to geolocate players.
ss/kms (dpa, AFP)