Pokemon Go and the CIA

Conspiracy theorists believe that Pokemon Go game could be used by the CIA for mass surveillance.

But anything could be true in our world these days. By now, you’ve probably heard of Pokemon Go, the new “hybrid reality” mobile android game that overlays real world geographic locations with virtual monsters that are collected for points even into the sea when you’are having a swim with your burquini or not.

With its excessive data access on your phone system and request to have full access permission over your Google account, the new augmented reality game made some users suspicious. 

According to the Turkish Daily Sabah, this may have come as a baseless conspiracy theory, but it is in fact quite simple: As the brain behind Pokemon Go, John Hanke, has previously received funds from a CIA-linked company, some “trainers” are nervous over safety whilst playing the game.

For yournewswire.com Vladimir Putin was about  to ban Pokemon GO from Russia after an internal Kremlin investigation revealed the viral augmented reality smartphone game has direct links to the CIA and wider intelligence community and is being used to secretly gather data on a colossal scale.

Almost everyone will have seen videos of people running to catch rare Pokemonand if this law can be used against anyone drawing a crowd it’s possible that the Russian police could use it to stop people playing the game.

This month Iran became the first country to ban the augmented reality game, citing security concerns over its location-based technology, and in Russia officials have been whipping up hysteria over possible hidden dangers in the western-made game.

China, the world’s biggest gaming and smartphone market, has expressed reservations about the game, believing it could be a Trojan horse for offensive military action by the United States and Japan.

John Hanke, meaningfully nicknamed as the "mastermind" is behind the game that "needs" full access to every single detail of your Google account, is the man who previously received funding from the CIA's venture capital firm In-Q-Tel to develop what later became Google Earth.

Just for the record, In-Q-Tel states its mission as "IQT identifies, adapts, and delivers innovative technology solutions to support the missions of the Central Intelligence Agency and broader U.S. Intelligence Community" on its own website.

In the beginning of the 2000s, In-Q-Tel invested in Keyhole Inc., the company for which Hanke received CIA funds.Again meaningfully, the name "Keyhole" was homage to the Key Hole spy satellites first launched by the American National Reconnaissance Office that used electro-optical digital imaging and created a real-time optical observation capability.
Keyhole was a software development company specializing in geospatial data visualization applications. In-Q-Tel, which funded the company, receives the majority of its funds from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which means that your privacy may be at the hands of two intelligence agencies.

A Reddit user also put forth other reasons why the Pokemon GO game might be useful for intelligence agencies and governments to spy on your private life:

  • “Obviously, intelligence agencies have gained a lot of information from Google Maps and Street View, but this data was collected with driving cars,” he wrote on the post, touching on the chances that services provided by Google, the company that usually comes under antitrust charges -the latest one being from the European Union, may be used or at least be useful
  • It was created by Niantic, Inc., which was founded by the Keyhole, Inc. founder John Hanke. Keyhole Inc. was funded by Sony & Nvidia, along with a nice chunk of money coming from the CIA’s venture capital firm In-Q-Tel, with In-Q-Tel receiving the majority of funding from the National Geospatial Agency.

The NGA was formerly known as NIMA, the National Imaging and Mapping Agency, until 2003. The NGA’s primary focus is mapping Geospatial Intelligence, or GEOINT. Geospatial Intelligence is intelligence about human activity on earth derived from the exploitation and analysis of imagery and geospatial information that describes, assesses, and visually depicts physical features and geographical referenced activities on the Earth.

So Niantic/Pokemon Go is basically a front for Geospatial Intelligence gathering, just like the former Ingress from the same company (which wasn’t as hugely popular as the Pokemon intellectual property, basically every 90’s kid with a capable smart phone is out playing this).

If they need pictures for a specific area updated, they don’t have to send any agents/employees. They just spawn a rare Pokemon and someone using the app will take some pictures for them.

The Privacy Policy for Pokemon Go is a also bit Orwellian.

Nevertheless, Niantic has announced it is updating the app to revoke those permissions. It’s full statement read: “We recently discovered that the Pokémon GO account creation process on iOS erroneously requests full access permission for the user’s Google account. However, Pokémon GO only accesses basic Google profile information (specifically, your User ID and email address) and no other Google account information is or has been accessed or collected.

As the game needs “full account access” to your Google account which may contain your contacts’ numbers, emails, your photos and videos on Google Drive, and also wants you to grant it access to nearly everything in your phone system especially on Android. Pokemon Go can basically do the following:

  • Read all your emails!
  • Send emails as you!
  • Access all your Google Drive documents (including deleting them)!
  • Look at your search history and your Maps navigation history!
  • Access any private photos you may store in Google Photos!
  • And a whole lot more, as the architect said in his blog post!

As this is happening, the video from selected players’ cameras is being streamed to the CIA in real time, along with precise GPS coordinates of the players’ locations.

The more people the CIA wants to converge onto an area of interest, the higher the monster value they place at that location.

As some photos show, when high-value monsters appear in such locations, hoards of Pokemon players rush to the scene via bicycles, taxis, automobiles and even on foot… all pointing their cameras at the high-value target and upstreaming real-time video to the CIA.

In effect, Pokemon Go is the CIA’s way of turning an obedient population of obedient zombie humans into inadvertent collectors of actionable on-the-ground intelligence.

Pokemon is the game that turns obedient, bored citizens into highly effective domestic spies who are unwittingly working for the police state.Witness these scenes from actual Pokemon Go “monster” locations where high-value monsters suddenly appeared and hoards of mindless humans instantly converged.

 

Sources: Daily Sabah and http://humansarefree.com/2016/07/the-pokemon-zombie-apocalypse-hoards-of.html and reddit.com/conspiracy

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