Iran has become the first country to officially banned Pokemon Go, the smash hit reality game that has taken the world by storm in recent months.
The Iranian High Council of Virtual Spaces , the official body that oversees online activity , has prohibited the use of the highly popular app game citing ‘security reasons’.
Although many countries and officials have expressed security concerns over the wildly popular game, Iran is the first country to introduce an official ban of Pokémon Go. Some countries, like Indonesia, have placed partial bans on the game.
Pokemon Go’s dramatic rise to popularity after it was first released last month has caused a spike in security fears after a number of reported phone robberies were linked to the game.
This is not the first time a video game has been banned in Iran, but despite the strict Internet restrictions, some fans have said that they managed to access the game in Iran using VPNs.
Reports had earlier said that Iranian authorities were waiting to see to what extent the game’s creators would co-operate with them before making a decision on banning it.
“We had a communication through email with the developers of Pokemon Go and with the issue that if the game wants to come to the Iranian market it has to pass through the filtering of the National Foundation of Computer Games along with their cooperation, otherwise we have to filter and block this game in our market,” Hasan Karimi Ghodosi, the director of the National Foundation for Computer Games told Mehr News Agency in July, run by the Islamic Ideology Dissemination Organization.
“The NFCG had two conditions for the game’s creators to roll out the game in Iran – the game’s data servers must be located in Iran and any tagged locations within the game would need to be coordinated with the NFCG to avoid including any locations that may be of national security concern”, said Ghodosi.
Middle East nations like Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have cautioned fans against the security dangers of playing Pokemon Go. The Israeli military has also reportedly forbidden its troops and officers from playing the game stating cybersecurity concerns and fearing the leakage of sensitive information and base locations. The Indonesian government is looking to issue a ban on playing the game stating that the game makes damages the minds of children and makes them lazy.