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Nintendo Privacy China Security

In China, Fears That Pokemon Go May Aid Locating Military Bases (reuters.com) 173

The sleeper hit success title Pokemon Go is preventing many people in China from sleeping properly. Although the game isn't officially available in the world's largest smartphone market, some people fear it could become a Trojan horse for "offensive action by the United States and Japan," according to a report by Reuters. "Don't play Pokemon GO!!!" said user Pitaorenzhe on Chinese microblogging site Weibo. "It's so the U.S. and Japan can explore China's secret bases!" From the article: The conspiracy theory is that Japan's Nintendo, which part owns the Pokemon franchise, and America's Google can work out where Chinese military bases are by seeing where users can't go to capture Pokemon characters. The game relies on Google services such as Maps. The theory is that if Nintendo places rare Pokemon in areas where they see players aren't going, and nobody attempts to capture the creature, it can be deduced that the location has restricted access and could be a military zone. "Then, when war breaks out, Japan and the U.S. can easily target their guided missiles, and China will have been destroyed by the invasion of a Japanese-American game," said a social media post circulated on Weibo. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said he was unaware of reports that the game could be a security risk and that he didn't have time to play with such things. He gave no further details.
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In China, Fears That Pokemon Go May Aid Locating Military Bases

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  • When? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by irrational_design ( 1895848 ) on Friday July 15, 2016 @12:45PM (#52518799)

    When war breaks out?! Is this a common belief in China? Or are these just the Chinese equivalent of the American-survivalist sub culture?

    • I read that the same way.

      As to the point of the article... Don't secret base employees play Pokémon Go as well?

      • by jandrese ( 485 )
        I'm guessing many of those bases don't allow cell phones on the premises, which if you think about it is also a pretty big tell.
        • Clarification (Score:5, Informative)

          by HBI ( 604924 ) on Friday July 15, 2016 @01:07PM (#52519017) Journal

          This is a misconception. Military bases permit cell phones. When passing into SCIFs or classified briefing rooms, you are required to get rid of your cellphones into lock boxes. If you like your battery, you turn it off or put it in airplane mode before doing so.

          There are some buildings that are all-classified that require you to not have a phone along, but this would be a "building", not a whole base.

          In the field, most people have a cell phone on them for basic communications, and they are rarely collected - only when someone has a bug up their ass about it.

          • Re:Clarification (Score:4, Insightful)

            by subanark ( 937286 ) on Friday July 15, 2016 @01:15PM (#52519087)

            Yes, but what about "Secret" "Chinese" bases, that might have a different policy. On the other hand, knowing China, they will have strict rules that prohibit this, but no one will follow them.

            • by HBI ( 604924 )

              The US military also has strict rules that are bent and broken regularly in regards to wireless devices. One IA officer I knew actually yelled at me for leaving my cell phone at home, "How am I going to get in touch with you? Go get it!" when I was trying to think security and follow the rules.

              • Manning walked in with a Lady Gaga CD; erased the contents; walked out with the store.

              • by kqs ( 1038910 )

                The US military also has strict rules that are bent and broken regularly in regards to wireless devices. One IA officer I knew actually yelled at me for leaving my cell phone at home, "How am I going to get in touch with you? Go get it!" when I was trying to think security and follow the rules.

                Can't be. I've been told that every single person who breaks any of the government's security policies is immediately punished, unless they are named Hillary which just proves that she blackmailed the FBI. People regularly break the rules and don't get punished? Unpossible!

                Sorry, had to say that. Yeah, I never worked for the government (military or otherwise) but since every other human I know would ignore rules which were inconvenient and hard-to-enforce, seems like military folks would do so too. Con

                • by HBI ( 604924 )

                  Vis a vis Hillary, what she did was pretty blatant and if I tried it, i'd get silver bracelets and a stay in Club Fed. But yes, the more mundane rules get flouted regularly because it makes things hard to do, like get in touch with critical personnel when you need them.

            • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

              if this base is outdoors on the surface of the planet..... it's not secret. even google earth has enough resolution to easily spot anything the size of a gas station on the surface of the planet and identify it. a "secret base" would be obvious as hell.

              • by Anonymous Coward

                Depends how they do it, if you want it secret then make it underground or hide it within something else that isn't secret. NORAD would be very hard to spot from a satellite, it's really the unusual traffic to it that would give it away. Storing your tanks in caves or the like would be fairly easy, and the only thing giving that away would be the unusual traffic. Also if you do secret work inside a regular office building it can be easily hidden, it has twenty offices, one is called XY-group and it's really

            • Ah, so you've been to China.

              I loved the fact that there were x-ray machines and people with scanner wands at all major train and subway stations (and airports, of course). I soon realized that usually none of this equipment was even powered up, but they still ran the wand over you and your bags through the scanners anyway. I would purposely leave metal things in my pockets and the scanners never went off.

      • As to the point of the article... Don't secret base employees play Pokémon Go as well?

        Yeah, if they think their soldiers aren't playing it... they're deluded.

    • What I don't get about the rant.
      We know where the bases are. So we send the population to the bases so we can know where the bases are so we can bomb them?
      Or is the Big Bad America just trying to increase civilian casualty.

      • by lgw ( 121541 )

        Maybe the people are just unclear about the idea of satellite photography? This is the popular press, after all, they might simply not realize that's how it works these days..

      • by PCM2 ( 4486 )

        We know where the bases are. So we send the population to the bases so we can know where the bases are so we can bomb them?

        I think the point is that we don't know where the bases are, but Pokemon GO assets are geo-scattered semi-randomly. If they end up in places that are easily accessed by the public, they will get "found." If they end up in interesting-looking locations and are never found, that's a hint that no civilians are supposed to know about/go to those places.

        • by kqs ( 1038910 )

          Hmmm. We likely can find the bases via Google Maps. Also, any place without Pokemon Go players could be a secret base, but it also could be a forest with no people, a lake, a toxic waste dump, a poor farming community without electricity, or maybe just a location without cell service (the US seems to have a few of those). This would be one of the most useless and ineffective ways of finding secret bases that I could possibly come up with.

      • What I don't get about the rant...

        Oh, there are numerous flaws with this line of thinking. Why would the US & Japan, both of who poses advanced spy satellite technology need to get video game data to try to collect info on military bases? You think that they don't already have that info?

        Moreover, why would we want to attack a country with a huge population, and massive standing land army? Isn't there some sort of old saying about land wars in Asia? I thought our plan was to just seduce them with freedom

    • Re:When? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 15, 2016 @01:59PM (#52519413)
      ok, I'll tell you my view, even though it's a big country, with each person having their own viewpoint, so this is partial at best.

      When I was in China, I mentioned to my Chinese teacher, "I don't like war." The teacher was confused, and responded, "Well, that doesn't matter. War is something that happens." Remember that unlike Europe or Japan, in China they never had the hippy anti-war protest movement. Think of how we in the west came to the conclusion that war is bad, and you'll see that China doesn't really have that experience. How they viewed WW2 is completely different: it was an invasion from foreigners.

      Second thing: although China is ostensibly communist, their worldview is more imperialist: they call themselves the "middle country", maps in China have China right in the center. On TV they have all these dramas and movies that take place in the old imperial times, when war was something that happened and even a way to win glory. The government is composed of hereditary "princelings" with rivalries who depose each other and fight, much like royalty. If you want to understand China today, the ancient imperial system of Legalism (fa jia) is the best way to understand it.

      Third point: in the west, we've completely moved on from colonialism. We decided it was a bad idea, and frankly it doesn't provide economic benefit anymore. China doesn't realize that. From 1850 to 1900, they were embarrassingly dominated by western powers, who came in, and sold them opium in exchange for silver. Then Japan came in, and started colonizing them, killing many people. During the Korean war (which is within living memory), the US army entered China. Finally, Mao+communism defeated the westerners, pushed America back, and gave China something to be proud of with their country. But it was a hard fight, and the Chinese view the west as someone who wants to colonize them if they can.

      Fourth point: Building on that, when westerners protect Taiwan, try to install democracy in Hong Kong (which was still colonized 20 years ago), or protest about Tibet, the Chinese see that as attempts from western colonizers to control, and humiliate China. Again, they don't realize we've moved on from colonization, and we're happy to be partners with them. The idea of "protecting the democratic freedoms of the Taiwanese people" makes no sense to them. Why would we do that?

      Fifth point: we've had constant military struggles against China. Bill Clinton sent a battleship to patrol the ocean between Taiwan and China, for example, and Bush had some spy plane issues, and Obama has sent patrols into the south China sea. These are low grade, and even cool displays of power, but they are militaristic nonetheless. Frankly, it is unethical for China to claim the South China sea at the expense of all its neighbors, and it's foolish for China to try to force Taiwan to join them (the Taiwanese don't trust China, because China treated Hong Kong really badly: taking away their freedoms).

      Sixth point: Freedom is only something you recognize when you don't have it. Most Chinese people are free to say anything they want, because they don't want to say forbidden things. But we recognize that their lack of freedom is going to hurt them in the future, and hope that they learn to respect their freedoms.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        It's also worth examining some myths we have about war in the west:

        *) War is always terrible - No, it has terrible parts, but it also has brilliant, exciting, and fun parts. Winston Churchill said, "Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result." The strategy, the victory, the pursuit: these things are portrayed on tv in China more often than here.

        *) Only rich elites want to go to war - No, throughout history, commoners have wanted war too, to gain riches, prestige, land, and becau
        • I had a history teacher who said world history could be summed up in 2 questions: "Where's the money? (i.e., economic)", and "Who succeeds the king? (i.e. power). The rest (Religion, etc) is just for show.
      • Remember that unlike Europe or Japan, in China they never had the hippy anti-war protest movement.

        To be fair... we also need to remember that Japan has invaded China - many times. We westerners tend to believe war is something remote, and unlikely due to our modern mindset and sophistication - but, in truth, World War Two happened in a world not much different than the current one.

        (Overall I agree with you though)

        • To be fair... we also need to remember that Japan has invaded China - many times

          Just in the late 1500s, right? (ww2 also, of course)

      • by e r ( 2847683 )
        China also has many more males than females [wikipedia.org].
        What do young bucks like to do, especially to gain female approval? War.
      • the Chinese see that as attempts from western colonizers to control, and humiliate China... Again, they don't realize we've moved on from colonization, and we're happy to be partners with them

        And how do you know if that (to control or colonize) is not true? Do you work for the CIA?

        Look around the world, the only real competitor to the US (and its puppet Western allies) is China. Just think about that if one day Chinese Yuan succeeds becoming a real competitor to the USD and that most other countries are willing to trade everything include petroleum in RMB and accumulate RMBs as reserved, we would be much more like Greece. And all our allies would become theirs.

        That's why we care about their poli

    • One of the things I very enjoyed about college was meeting people from other countries, and learning a little about them. Something that struck me was despite what TV, my liberal professors, and fellow American students were telling me, other cultures and perspectives really do exist, and few of them actually follow the school of thought that is being popularized in the U.S. We tend to take a very parochial, Euro-centric view of the world. So, while multi-culurism is preached, what is really meant is just t
    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      You are correct.... except those survivalists are in positions of power and are all really fucking insane.

  • Obvious Solution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Just make all soldiers play Pokemon Go. Problem solved.

    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      Just make all soldiers play Pokemon Go

      So then Nintendo and Google can now collect video from inside the "secret bases" when the players use the AR play?

  • by halivar ( 535827 ) <bfelger@gmTOKYOail.com minus city> on Friday July 15, 2016 @12:45PM (#52518805)

    One single Chinese microblogger with a tin foil hat advances crackpot theory and actual Chinese official can't be bothered to even talk about, and it makes front page of Slashdot?

    Shit, guys, lemme tell you 'bout some CHEMTRAILS!

    • by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Friday July 15, 2016 @12:54PM (#52518901) Homepage Journal
      The sad part is that this was reported by Reuters.
    • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

      Shit, guys, lemme tell you 'bout some CHEMTRAILS!

      Do you mean the ones put up by the illuminati? Or the ones by the Lizard people?

    • ROFL (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Even better, read the credits :)

      "(Reporting by Beijing Newsroom and Shanghai Newsroom; Additional reporting by Megha Rajagopalan, Ben Blanchard, Jake Spring and Jeremy Wagstaff; Editing by Ian Geoghegan and Raju Gopalakrishnan)"

      So it took 2 newsrooms and 4 additional reporters plus 2 editors to write this insightful story of the reason behind it :O ...and a microblogging site? Reuters doesn't have any other sources left?

    • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Friday July 15, 2016 @01:39PM (#52519289)
      To be fair, I think Google now knows how they're going to get "street view" pictures of all the streets and pathways where they weren't able to send Google Cars to photograph.
    • One single Chinese microblogger with a tin foil hat advances crackpot theory and actual Chinese official can't be bothered to even talk about, and it makes front page of Slashdot?

      It's always nice to have confirmation that every culture has its crackpots, and they all post on the Internet.

    • I'm wondering why he's assuming Nintendo has access to any data or what the Japanese have to do with this. All they did so far as I understand is license Pokemon to Niantic labs.
  • It's not their military that scaring the shit out of people, it's their fucking way they do business.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The air pollution in China is an effective screen and blocks the satellites. See China, pollution is your friend. Keep belching out that crap. My kids need their plastic McDonalds crap toys.

  • But Boeing and the USG have already banned the application for all employees, government or civilian.

  • The US and Google need a stupid game to find army bases. Right.

    Oh how did the US ever find Soviet nuclear silos without being able to get the Russkies to play some video games...?

  • by Kargan ( 250092 ) on Friday July 15, 2016 @12:47PM (#52518831) Homepage

    > Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said he was unaware of reports that the game could be a security risk and that he didn't have time to play with such things.

    Of course he doesn't, too busy trying to fight his way through the tournament and take out Shao Khan.

  • by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Friday July 15, 2016 @12:48PM (#52518843)

    Is there really someone so ignorant that they think the locations of anything visible to the sky is unknown? Seriously?

    Or is this just more hatemongering aimed at a game that's actually getting kids (and adults) outside and walking around? Oh, the humanity! People are actually exercising and talking to their neighbors!!!!

    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      Satellite imagery can't tell you everything. In this case you might see a building that you suspect might be some kind of military installation, but you're not sure. Pokemon Go usage would probably be a half decent datapoint, but could be confounded by things like civilian employers who don't like their employees goofing off. Realistically, the US probably just monitors which places have government or military cell phones frequenting them.

  • Just because large businesses in China are at the knees of government doesn't mean it's the same in other countries... In fact it appears to be the other way around in America.
  • It's stupid that the Chinese government is afraid of Pokemon Go since Google/Android is already tracking them.

  • Up next... (Score:5, Funny)

    by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Friday July 15, 2016 @12:57PM (#52518931)

    Chinese government creates new arm of military tasked with collecting all Pokemon Go characters located in military bases.

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      Chinese government creates new arm of military tasked with collecting all Pokemon Go characters located in military bases.

      Call them, say, Team Rocket.

    • Us simple folk have a shorter name for "Pokemon go characters", we call them "pokemon".

  • Imagine having an army of idiots precisely mapping with their smartphone GPS's huge areas in countries, virtually for free, on their own time and with their own equipment.

    If it wasn't used initially, I am sure after this huge success the black suits have surely contacted nintendo with an offer to access and use all that data. It's not conspiracy theory, it's exactly what happened with Facebook. After it became mainstream and it's potential was noticed, one of the investors is the CIA R&D arm.

    It's
  • This seems absurd. Military bases are not invisible. Planes, drones and satellites watch them all the time. The Chinese are just messing with the minds of their military people for some unknown propaganda reason..
  • Holy shit, and people make fun of "preppers" in the US?

    Guess what, China - The US already has high-res satellite imagery of every base, outpost, cave, and jeep (or whatever brand) you own.

    It would better serve the Earth's (and your own, as inhabitants thereof) needs if you focused more on not spewing crackpot bullshit like TFA, than worrying about whether or not we notice your target practice city-grids out in the middle of nowhere based on kids not crawling around them looking for pokestuff.
  • by mu51c10rd ( 187182 ) on Friday July 15, 2016 @01:24PM (#52519165)

    If my morning commute is any indication, most of the Pokemon Go players would have no idea they are on a secret military base...

  • Implying that U.S. and Japanese intelligence services don't already know where all of China's military bases and assets are at any given time -- and vice-versa.

    Nothing to see here, kids.
  • I bet Google is kicking itself that it sent out those camera-laden streetview cars, instead of publishing an augmented reality game that also could send location and direction-marked camera captures back to the server.

    That's not to say that they don't have a finger in the pie with the company that published the game, or perhaps more indirectly via the Android platform.

    Since I have already established that shotguns seem to work against drones, I'll next try if they can make pokemons go away - or at least p

  • China is worried that the rest of the world is trying to do to them what they are trying to do to the rest of the world.

  • Know the solution to that, China? It's really simple, China. Want to know what it is, China?

    Hey, China, allow your soldiers to play Pokemon GO on-base in their off time.

    Problem solved.

    Or, you know, don't try to screw us over and we won't have reason to invade you and, thus, won't need to know where your bases are in order to target them.

    Either (or both) of those will work.
  • I can just imagine all the people vying to be the official classified Pokemon catcher to nullify this clear and present danger to the Chinese military.

    Sgt.: "Private Chang, why didn't you report for KP?"

    Pvt.: "I had to catch a Ratata that was in the nuclear launch communications center."

    Sgt.: "Very well. Carry on."

  • All your bases are belong to us...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

  • "Don't play Pokemon GO!!!" said user {insert microblogger's name here} on {insert country of origin here} microblogging site. "It's so the U.S. and Japan can explore {insert country of origin}'s secret bases!"

  • Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Woo hoo hoo. That is such a hilariously pathetic level of paranoid insecurity. That really made my day.

    Seriously do we still have this level of middle ages paranoid national fervor? Lighten up and catch some monsters.

    • Seriously do we still have this level of middle ages paranoid national fervor?

      I don't know - has Trump weighed in on Pokemon Go yet?

  • ...doesn't mean they aren't out to get you!

    But yeah, sometimes you're just paranoid.

  • If Pokemon Go relies on Google Maps, players in China can expect to wind up in the river... https://twitter.com/isonno/sta... [twitter.com]
    • I thought you could not use Google Maps at all in China.
      • You can if you have mobile data through a non-Chinese carrier and you don't mind paying the international roaming charges.

        Or so I hear.

        • That's interesting. I've always switched to China Unicom when there. I assumed that the infrastructure was the same and the same blocks would apply. I guess the OP reference might have some sort of VPN also.
  • Ha! Pokemon Go has now revealed the existence of cloaked Chinese military bases that aren't visible on satellite images like all of the world's other military bases!

    (Half-seriously - maybe they have bases hidden under dummy neighborhoods like the US had during WW2, and this could indeed reveal them through apparently suburban neighborhoods in which nobody hunts Pokemon?)

  • In China, what do fears-that-Pokemon-Go-may-aid-in-locating-military-bases do?

    Alternatively, in China, who fears that Pokemon Go may aid in locating military bases?

    The headline lacks either a verb (if the fears are the subject) or a subject (if fearing is the verb).

  • ... just walk around until you hear the handgun racking and ship the coordinates up.

  • Ridiculous. We all know Pokemon is a plot to get children to bomb Pearl Harbor. South Park already proved it.

  • Or if the chinese are really that worried, they can order their military people to play pokemon go to make it seem like it's not a base.

Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty. -- Plato

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