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Jakarta Post

Pokemon threatens Vietnam


    Viet Nam News

Hanoi   /   Fri, August 19, 2016   /  06:03 am
Pokemon threatens Vietnam Women play "Pokemon Go" in front of a McDonald's restaurant in Tokyo, Friday, July 22, 2016. (AP/Koji Sasahara)

Pokemon Go players have been urged not to play the game in areas near Party and State agencies or military sites to stop players affecting national security and social order.

The move was announced by the Ministry of Information and Communications on Wednesday.

Many countries have raised concerns about risks that Pokemon Go players could unintentionally cause to national security because data related to images or locations uploaded by players could be collected and sent to the game producer’s server, the ministry said.

Le Quang Tu Do, deputy head of the ministry’s Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information Department, said although the game was encouraging people to exercise instead of sitting in front of a screen like other games, it still caused negative impacts.

First, Việt Nam has yet to issue a licence for the game, meaning no one would be liable if players get into trouble playing the game. Second, there were many websites providing fake versions of the game, posing risks for players, such as having their details stolen. Last, players could suffer traffic accidents or be robbed of their phones when engrossed in the game.

Many people also played when driving motorbikes or bicycles, he said.

Do also said the department would require both the game producer and distributor to follow Vietnamese regulations, such as not setting virtual creatures near Party and State agencies or military sites, as well as ensuring safety for player’s details.

If the producer does not co-operate, the game would be banned in Vietnam, he said.

Pokemon Go, which launched in Vietnam on August 6, has been downloaded by hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese.

The game allows players to use a mobile device’s GPS system to locate, capture, battle and train virtual creatures called Pokemon that appear on screen as if they are in the same real-world location as the player.

Last week, Google Map Maker Vietnam was brought close to standstill after receiving thousands of requests for new virtual locations, created by Vietnamese players to capture the virtual creatures in the game.

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