Pokemon Go is a massive success – take a step outside and you are bound to run into hunters determined to be the very best.
However, with new media comes new fears.
Rounding off the trifecta of public hysteria, there have been reports of attacks on players.
The fears surrounding the mobile game have also spread to governments. For example, Russian authorities recently speculated that Pokemon Go might in fact be a CIA psy-op built to infiltrate the minds of the youth.
In addition, authorities in the UAE and Kuwait warned that Pokemon Go invades privacy and allows hackers to spy on players.
Now, Iran has become the first country to actually ban the game.
The decision came from the rather Orwellian-sounding High Council of Virtual Spaces, which stated that the ban was related to “security concerns”.
Thanks to the High Council of Virtual Spaces, Internet filtering is not uncommon in Iran.
Popular social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook are blocked, which has led to locals finding creative solutions and workarounds, such as anti-filtering software to bypass state restrictions, or VPNs to disguise their location.
At the moment, it is unclear whether anti-filtering measures, which affect Internet speeds, will work with Pokemon Go.
Of course, it’s not just the Internet that is restricted in Iran.
Since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, members of the LGBT community have faced punishment and imprisonment under Iran’s penal code. And in 2005, Iran made headlines when it banned Western music from state radio and TV stations.
Some of the bans extend into the realm of farce. In 2010, The Iranian Ministry of Culture apparently banned mullets and other “decadent Western cuts”.
In the same year, a fatwa was issued against pets. That’s right – puppies and kittens were banned because “Many people in the West love their dogs more than their wives and children”.
It seems that anything new and popular will bring about some fear. In the 1950s it was rock and roll, and in the 1970s it was violent movies. Now it’s video games.
It’s times like this I’m so glad I live in a country where I can grow a mullet, listen to AC/DC and walk my dog while playing Pokemon Go.
It’s the little things, you know?
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