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Mobile app raises privacy, safety concerns

15 Jul 2016 | Lance Cpl. Levi Schultz Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

Recently, popular cartoon characters such as Pikachu, Squirtle and Charmander have been virtually spotted aboard the installation. Pokémon Go, an augmented reality mobile app, has flooded more than 15 million smart phones since its debut on July 6 and the Combat Center is no exception to this pandemic trend.

By utilizing GPS, the game enables players to notionally catch fictitious creatures by tracking them in the real world. With the goal of catching 150 Pokémon, players have begun looking for the creatures everywhere from shopping malls to police departments. While the game has been credited with promoting exercise amongst its users in an unprecedented way, it has also been the cause of various privacy and safety concerns.

It is important to remember that real world rules still apply to Pokémon Go users. Looking for Pokémon in controlled or restricted areas, office buildings, or near private homes or buildings is socially disruptive and in many cases unlawful. Service members and their families should heed caution when playing the game in unfamiliar areas and remember that trespassing laws are still applicable even if committed in ignorance or error. Additionally, the app users should be mindful of respecting the privacy of others.

Players should also utilize common sense and remain aware of their surroundings, especially when near parking lots, crossing roads or driving. In accordance with Marine Corps Order 5100.19F, talking on phones, using listening devices, using or performing any form of texting, using computers, or actively programming navigational systems while the vehicle is in motion is considered distracted driving and is subjectable to disciplinary action.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms