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Chinese regulator not to approve Pokemon GO over security threat

2017-01-11 08:36:15 Global Times

China's top media regulator said it will not approve augmented reality games similar to Pokemon GO, a wildly popular foreign game that uses constant location tracking, as they pose threats to geographic information security.

According to a statement released by the game publication committee under the China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association on Monday, the State Administration of Press Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) has paid high attention to the wide popularity of the Pokemon GO mobile game and its related positioning technology.

Although the game has set a positive example for the development of the game industry, several incidents showed that the game poses a threat to the "geographic information security, transport safety and personal security." Therefore, the authorities are making a safety evaluation of those other augmented reality games and before the result is released, the administration will not approve the development and operation of such games, said the statement.

Starting July 1, 2016, a new rule requires that all mobile games in China should be pre-approved by the SAPPRFT.

Pokemon GO was developed by American mobile game developer Niantic Labs, an offshoot of Google. The game, released in selected countries in July 2016, is a location-based game that sends players to search, capture, battle and train virtual creatures called Pokemon in the real world.

Although it sweeps the world, the game has been blamed for road accidents and raised concerns about data privacy.

In August, a Canadian woman filed a class-action lawsuit against Niantic Inc., saying she suffered from an invasion of privacy as the app designated her house as a gym. In September, a West Australian man fell into Perth's Swan River while playing the Pokemon GO.

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