Iran bans Pokémon Go over ‘security concerns’
The Pokémon Go craze has spread to many countries in recent weeks but the Middle Eastern nation of Iran wants no part of the global phenomenon.
Iran has officially become the first nation to ban the augmented reality smartphone game, citing security concerns about the game’s use of location-based virtual reality technology.
“Any game that wants to operate nationwide in Iran needs to obtain permission from the ministry of culture and Islamic guidance, and the Pokémon Go app has not yet requested such a permission,” the head of Iran’s supreme council of virtual space, Abolhasan Firouzabadi, was quoted as saying in a report from The Guardian.
Abdolsamad Khorramabadi, a senior judicial official, argued that the game posed a security problem and that the country’s intelligence apparatus approved of the ban.
“There are many problems with the game and security-wise, it can create problems for the country and our people,” he told The Guardian.
Despite the ban, majority of Iran’s tech-savvy millennials quickly embraced the game and resorted to various hacking platforms to gain access. To bypass state restrictions, avid gamers used various anti-filtering softwares, which are now being closely monitored by state officials.
Meanwhile, Pokémon Go has created multiple disturbances since its launch, many of which concern the game’s focus of visiting real world locations to obtain Pokémon and in-game items. Trespassing has been a primary concern, especially for homes marked as designated “gyms.”
Iranian authorities reportedly reached out to the game’s developers, Niantic Inc., in the past month determine up to “what extent the game’s creators would co-operate with them,” prior to making a decision to ban the game nationwide.
Officials previously hinted that they might allow the game in the country, as long as certain locations would be excluded, the report said.
Iran is the second-largest country in the Middle East next to Egypt, and is the 18th-largest in the world, with a population of over 79 million people. Khristian Ibarrola