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Copyright 2014 by Attorney Carlos Gamino
Carlos “I Don’t Play Pokémon Go” GaminoIf you have been living under a rock, you’ve probably also heard of Pokémon Go… but you may also believe that it’s a CIA invention that picks up where the Patriot Act leaves off.
It’s true that Niantic, Inc., the company that developed and manages the game, requires players— Pokémon Trainers, in the game’s lingo—to give unprecedented access to their phone’s data, their Google accounts, and their USB storage (which is located inside the device).
Many of the conspiracy theorists blame Niantic, Inc.’s roots. Its founder, John Hanke, previously received funding from In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s IT provider, to develop Google Earth. (In-Q-Tel’s mission statement says, “IQT identifies, adapts, and delivers innovative technology solutions to support the missions of the Central Intelligence Agency and broader U.S. Intelligence Community.”) In-Q-Tel is, according to its website, “the independent, not-for-profit organization created to bridge the gap between the technology needs of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) and emerging commercial innovation. We invest in venture-backed startups developing technologies that provide ready-soon innovation (within 36 months) vital to the IC mission. These technology startups are traditionally outside the reach of the IC; in fact, more than 70 percent of our portfolio companies have never before done business with the government.”
It says, “We cooperate with government and law enforcement officials or private parties to enforce and comply with the law. We may disclose any information about you (or your authorized child) that is in our possession or control to government or law enforcement officials or private parties as we, in our sole discretion, believe necessary or appropriate: (a) to respond to claims, legal process (including subpoenas); (b) to protect our property, rights, and safety and the property, rights, and safety of a third party or the public in general; and (c) to identify and stop any activity that we consider illegal, unethical, or legally actionable activity.”
That has conspiracy theorists freaking out, but it turns out that it’s not that bad.
"There’s a big gap between what we believe is private, and what information is really out there about us," says Kathleen Stansberry, an assistant professor with expertise in social media and strategic communications at Cleveland State University. "Did you use your debit card at Target? They’re tracking your purchases so they know how to better target you for ads. CVS does the same thing. Let’s say every month you buy a pregnancy test and then, suddenly you stop buying pregnancy tests. Now you get a coupon for diapers."
What Do You Think?
Are you playing Pokémon Go, and if you’re not, why? Do you feel that it’s a way to turn American citizens into droids willing to take pictures of everything, everywhere, only to turn them over to the CIA?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please share them on my Facebook page or on my Twitter feed!
Carlos “I Don’t Play Pokémon Go” Gamino
If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve heard of Pokémon Go. It’s a family-friendly app that gets people off the couch and out hunting for Pokémon, which are cartoon characters that were popularized through a 1990s TV show.
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Pokémon Go: Fun Family App or CIA Spy Tool?
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