Ho Chi Minh City bans Pokemon Go from government offices

By Trung Son   September 3, 2016 | 12:00 pm GMT+7
Ho Chi Minh City bans Pokemon Go from government offices
People gather in Tao Dan Park in Ho Chi Minh City to play Pokemon Go. Photo by VnExpress

Similar measures have been taken by other provinces.

Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) authorities have issued a ban on playing Pokemon Go in government offices during working hours out of fear that the staff might focus more on the game instead of their duties.

The ban applies to officers and public officials, soldiers and officers in the armed forces. The move is prompted by the frenzy the smart phone game has caused, which has already resulted similar bans in Ha Tinh and Da Nang and many workplaces.

Recently, HCMC has assigned its Department of Information and Communications to track problems related to the game. To ensure traffic safety, the Department has set up a warning "Do not play Pokemon while driving" displayed on 44 digital billboards around the city.

Tao Dan Park and Nguyen Hue Walking Street are the most popular spots among Pokemon Go players, some of whom may even linger until 1-2 a.m.

Since becoming available in Vietnam at the beginning of August, Pokemon Go has attracted thousands of players. It is an augmented reality game in which players walk around in the real-life world to catch virtual creatures on their smart phone screens. In doing so, the game engages the camera on mobile phones and activates GPS tracking.

The game's popularity has sparked safety fears due to a rash of car accidents and a slew of mishaps stemming from distracted players.There have been numerous traffic violations recorded since its release, and police have caught people playing the game while driving their motorbikes or parking their vehicles in restricted areas.

In Vietnam, the game is not licensed and people have been warned not to play it near or inside offices of the Communist Party, the state, the military, national defense sites and other restricted areas.

According to the Ministry of Information and Communications, Pokemon Go players will not be protected under the law on the management of electronic games on the internet. There also are concerns that game players could be tricked into downloading a copycat application and then unintentionally reveal sensitive information that could create security risks.

Pokemon Go has reached 35 countries across the world, including Vietnam. Analytics company App Annie estimates that the game has been downloaded more than 100 million times, fetching some $10 million in revenue a day.

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