Kuwait warns Pokemon Go may harm users, society

Users of the app warned of risk of accidents and taking pictures of government installations



Kuwait’s Ministry of Communications has warned smartphone users against downloading popular smartphone game Pokemon Go.

Kuwait Times cited assistant undersecretary Hamad Al-Qattan as saying the ministry discussing “means of protection” from such games with the Communications and Information Technology Authority.

In a statement to the press on Friday he was cited as saying games like Pokemon Go may cause harm to its users in particular and society in general.

He added that users of the app might be in danger of potential road accidents if they use the app while driving or crossing roads.

The Interior Ministry also warned users of the application against taking pictures of vital government, military or security locations and using the app at mosques, shopping centres, malls and oil installations, according to the publication.

“No excuses will be accepted by anyone claiming ignorance of the law,” undersecretary lieutenant general Suleiman Al-Fahad warned in the statement.

The augmented reality app, developed by Niantic, encourages users to find Pokemon in real world locations using their smartphone’s camera and a GPS-guided map.

Users are encouraged to visit local landmarks dubbed ‘Pokestops’ to collect items. These mostly include public places like malls, mosques, certain buildings, playgrounds, billboards and other attractions.

Already the game has been subject of several news stories with distracted users getting into accidents, lost, robbed or even stumbling across human remains.

But this has not stopped it from becoming a worldwide hit since launching on July 6.

Nintendo, the company behind the Pokemon franchise, has seen its share price climb 86 per cent, or nearly $15bn in the week since its launch.

Pokemon Go has yet to officially become available in the Gulf Cooperation Council, but users have found ways to download it from third party sources.