The latest fad is Pokemon Go. People use their Smartphones with the built in GPS locator & Camera to play an Arcade style game. At computer generated preselected locations all over the U.S. players hunt for Pokemon creatures. When the player is at the location their GPS reports as the proper location, they see an animated recreation of the area they are in, including the animated creatures on their phone. They then can play the arcade game on their phone.
Problems: Personal Security –
Partner Google wants you to share your personal information so they can sell it to others to help them market to you. To play the game without explicitly giving them a blank security check requires a lot of extra effort most are not bothering to do. Your location, your social media accounts, any Google linked account are exposed. Your email contents and other Goggle related accounts are open books to others.
Bad guys are already manipulating what you see on your phone to lure you to unsafe places where you are vulnerable. They can intercept and alter the legitimate information being sent to your phone by the game providers.
GPS Phone Reliability –
Different phones & even different phone service providers (ATT & Verizon, etc.) provide different levels of location accuracy.
Local objects like power transformers, radio towers, other electronic & electrical devices provide interference which may scramble the phone’s GPS location sensing and lower its accuracy.
Weather conditions, time of day, cloud cover, rain, large structures, trees, distance from cell towers all can cause the accuracy to vary constantly.
Due to a inaccurate signal, what was suppose to be a safe public park fountain could actually be up to 100 feet away as your phone sees it. You have to be where the phone says it is to play the game. That could put the fountain in the middle of a busy 8 lane highway, off a high cliff, in a dangerous place, on private property.
Poor Vetting of Poke Locations.
During game development individuals were given the opportunity to recommend Poke sites. Then the developers used Google Earth satellite data map images and photo images submitted to Goggle Earth to select and create potential Poke sites.
Unfortunately the photos and blurry satellite images are not 3D. Elevation changes and obvious dangerous situation can be inherent in the sites, but not seen using those images. No one ever personally visits most sites before approving them.
The Texting while Driving Effect
Texting is not inherently unsafe, neither is driving. But doing the two of them at same time can be deadly distracting. The same as is walking, riding and playing a video game at the same time. Especially in places unfamiliar to the player. Add in the interaction with strangers while you play the game. Why you may be a friendly, harmless person, the stranger may not be, or actually be at all what they try to appear to be to the unwary.
See a Promotional video of the game:
Have fun. Be Aware. Be Safe !
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