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Iran Is First Country to Ban Pokémon Go

This story originally appeared on PCMag

Good luck trying to catch 'em all in Iran. The country's High Council of Virtual Spaces has officially banned the Pokémon Go app, making Iran the first country to do so.

Nicolas Maeterlinck | Getty Images

As for why, High Council of Virtual Spaces wasn't very specific. The BBC reported that the High Council claimed the game caused "security concerns," but it neglected to elaborate on what those were. We have our guesses, though. Pokémon Go can encourage players to get creative with their sleuthing at all hours of the night, which can prove troublesome. Trespassing concerns are prevalent, too -- so much so, there's even a class-action lawsuit in the works in the United States centered on that very issue.


It's also possible that Iran wants to stop the "Pokémon effect" of tens (if not hundreds) of people all hanging out in the same area for hours at a time, or even the few cases where Pokémon Go players are robbed or assaulted when walking around Pokéstops in particular areas.

According to the BBC, Iran was contemplating a ban last month, but officials were waiting to see whether the country could work with the game's creator, Niantic Labs, over potential restrictions. We're not sure what Iran was considering proposing --whether that meant preventing people from playing the game for too many hours each day or banning playing within particularly sensitive geographic areas, for example.

Iran might be the first country to ban Pokémon Go, but it's not the game's first ban. New York's correctional department recently updated its list of activities considered parole violations for sex offenders to include "downloading, accessing, or otherwise engaging in any internet enabled gaming activities, including Pokémon Go."

"Protecting New York's children is priority number one and, as technology evolves, we must ensure these advances don't become new avenues for dangerous predators to prey on new victims. These actions will provide safeguards for the players of these augmented reality games and help take one more tool away from those seeking to do harm to our children," said New York governor Andrew Cuomo, in a statement released on August 1.

Officials in Singapore are also taking a close look at Pokémon Go to see how it might impact day-to-day life within the country.

"We will monitor the situation, how this particular game is being played and... its impact on society," said Singapore's minister for communications and information, Yaacob Ibrahim, in a recent interview with The Straits Times.

"And if it's really something which we should be concerned about, I think MDA (the Media Development Authority) will definitely decide on what are the things we can do best, if the game is really needed here, how... we can do it in such a way that it becomes a win-win situation."

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