On July 15, 2016 the US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) issued an External Intelligence Note regarding the recent smash hit augmented reality mobile game Pokémon GO. The Note’s classification was unclassified/for official use only with the intended audience being the law enforcement and security communities. The completely unclassified summary of the FBI External Intelligence Note states:

The FBI’s Washington Field Office (WFO) assesses it is very likely a increased participation in the Pokémon GO augmented-reality smartphone application will result in an increase in law enforcement encounters and suspicious activity reports (SARs) in the National Capital Region (NCR) due to a high concentration of museums, art installations, historical markers, and monuments identified as target locations, or “PokéStops,” and players attempting to access restricted areas.

The Note makes several mentions of Pokémon GO developer Niantic, Inc. and their original game, Ingress (a game I enjoyed playing for a while). The Note also calls attention to the use of “lure modules” and Niantic’s recent addition of a feature allowing players to request PokéStops in specific locations.

On the FBI probability scale “very likely” and “highly probable” indicate an 80% to 95% chance of “players attempting to access restricted areas.”

I have heard of people getting robbed, falling into pools, and walking off cliffs while playing Pokémon GO. Since when is it okay for a game to allow common sense to get thrown completely out the window?

Related Content