Vietnamese province bans police from Pokemon Go amid security fears

By Duc Hung   August 23, 2016 | 04:34 pm GMT+7

Security forces have said Pokemon must go.

A district police station in the central province of Ha Tinh has banned all officers from playing Pokemon Go following concerns that they could accidentally reveal sensitive data while playing the game.

The move took effect this week in Ha Tinh's Thanh Ha District. The district police force even suggested that their staff tell family members to refrain from playing the game or delete it.

The idea that game players may trespass on military bases using GPS on their smart phones to detect Pokémon has caused concern because when a mobile phone’s camera is activated it can collect information about the location of these restricted areas.

The virtual reality game has taken the country by storm since its release just three weeks ago.

Pokemon Go 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.

Vietnamese authorities are concerned that game players could be tricked into downloading a copycat application and then unintentionally revealing sensitive information that creates security risks.

A senior police official in Thanh Ha District defended the decision to order all officers to stop playing the game and restrict game players from police property, saying: “For security concerns, some police stations throughout the country have banned the game.”

Acting on the same concern, a military base in the coastal province of Binh Dinh has also prohibited Pokemon Go. 

Since last week, Vietnam has banned Pokemon Go players from the offices of its government, besides religious, historic and defense sites.

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