You’d have to be more or less off the grid, or at least outside the initial launch countries, to be unaware of the mobile app Pokémon GO that has zombie-like smartphone users wandering urban landscapes. It’s being acclaimed as the breakthrough for Augmented Reality (AR) that tech (and some media) companies have been hoping for. However, the New Daily reports on fears that it’s actually an elaborate ploy to spy on millions of people:
Millions of Pokemon Go players are unwitting pawns in a global surveillance project with links to the CIA and Google, conspiracy theorists and tech experts are claiming.
Pokemon Go is an augmented-reality smartphone game that forces players to follow Google Maps to collect monsters known as Pokemon.
The game took the world by storm when released last week and has added $9 billion to Nintendo’s share price, the firm that created the Pokemon brand.
But fears have emerged that Pokemon Go is an elaborate ploy to spy on millions of people.
On Tuesday (AEST), US news website Gawker alleged the game’s creator, Niantec, was linked to the CIA. This followed reports spawned by blogger Adam Reeve claiming Pokemon Go commanded a list of intrusive tracking permissions for gameplay.
John Hanke is Niantec’s CEO. He created software called Keyhole in 2001 and Gawker based much of its theory on Mr Hanke’s business dealings.
Keyhole was funded by a CIA venture capital firm. Most of the money used to fund Keyhole came from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).
The NGA’s primary function is “collecting, analysing, and distributing geospatial intelligence”.
Keyhole was then purchased by Google and became Google Earth. Google Earth helps power Pokemon Go.
[continues at the New Daily]