Safety precautions while playing Pokémon Go

  • Opinion
[Photo] A frame of the official Pokémon Go commercial released in September 2015

Today’s trend on social media — including Facebook — is Pokémon Go. It’s the new augmented reality mobile game that’s available to be played on smartphones.

At present, it’s available in select countries like Australia, but some found a way to circumvent this barrier by sideloading the APK file, which I do not recommend because of the fear of having ads pop up in a split-second no thanks to Ghost Push.

(Also, there’s this thread on Reddit asking why the game’s developer Niantic has not yet spoken about the sideloading thingy, but that’s another matter.)

Here’s the thing: If a user posts his/her screenshot of him/her playing the game showing the map where he/she is at, chances are, it can be compared with a Google Map.

It might take the spotter a hard time to pinpoint a user’s specific location, but I have a friend who was able to pinpoint his other friend’s location by comparing the game map with a Google Map (and I trust that guy won’t do anything bad or else I’ll hit him hard as it is technically illegal to do so).

Taking into consideration that Pokémon Go is a AR game and will display an actual map based on your location, if you do care about your privacy and don’t want to reveal your address to anyone, I suggest you not to put screenshots of the map on social media.

Also taking note that this is the Philippines, and even with the new administration that bullies the bully that is the snatchers and pickpockets, we can’t sure ourselves that we will be safe in playing the game. With that said, I advice you to take caution while playing the game, especially outdoors. We don’t want to see news that someone got hurt while playing the game outside, with all those pickpockets, manholes, so on and so forth.

But if that scares you, just think of me as an uncle who’s wary of privacy issues and ask second opinion from your friends. The posts I shared from Facebook should serve as examples only.

EDIT: Apparently, access to the game in unauthorized countries has been blocked for the meantime. Guess we have to wait longer.