Thursday 22 March 2018

Israeli army bans soldiers from playing Pokemon Go on bases

Israel's military has told soldiers and officers that Pokemon Go could leak sensitive information such as army base locations
Israel's military has told soldiers and officers that Pokemon Go could leak sensitive information such as army base locations

Israeli soldiers have been banned from playing Pokemon Go on military bases due to security concerns.

The military has told soldiers and officers that the game activates mobile phone cameras and location services, and could leak sensitive information such as army base locations and photographs of the bases.

The military is also concerned that soldiers could download a fake application that impersonates Pokemon Go and could leak information from their phones.

Israel's emergency rescue service Magen David Adom has also issued a warning about Pokemon Go, saying Israelis have suffered moderate injuries while playing the game.

Players roam through the physical world holding up their phones and searching for creatures that appear on the screen.

Last week, a 15-year-old girl suffered a head injury after she fell off her bike while pursuing Pokemon creatures, and a 35-year-old player ran into a glass door and suffered "massive bleeding" in his legs, Magen David Adom said on its website.

"Apparently the game is not as friendly as we thought," the statement said.

The Israel Cancer Association has advised players not to go outdoors to catch Pokemon creatures in the middle of the day to avoid excessive sun exposure.

"In the game itself, some of the Pokemon snatchers are always with a baseball hat on," the association said on its website. "In the real world too, make sure you wear a hat before going outdoors."

The AIG insurance company in Israel is taking advantage of the Pokemon craze to market its personal accident insurance policy that covers accidents caused while playing such mobile phone games. Yifat Reiter, of AIG, said the company has received dozens of inquiries about the accident insurance for Pokemon players.

For Palestinians, Pokemon Go is a frustrating game to play because mobile high-speed internet services do not exist in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Under interim peace accords, Israel controls wireless networks in the area and it only recently announced that it would allow high-speed internet access in the West Bank, though the technology has not yet gone into effect.

The Palestinians are among a few markets in the world that still use older 2G technology, according to the International Telecommunication Union, a UN agency.

Naim Samsoum, 26, a Gaza-based animator, was one of the first people in the territory to download the game. He said he managed to catch three Pokemons only after installing a costly 2G internet service from the only mobile service provider in Gaza.

"I stopped because it was very expensive for me," Mr Samsoum said.

He ran into another obstacle: the fourth Pokemon he wanted to catch was located on the premises of the Palestinian Legislative Council, an off-limits government building run by Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza.


Press Association

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