Iran bans Pokémon Go over security concerns

Government body High Council of Virtual Spaces rules to outlaw app, with suggestions that a fatwa applies to the monster-catching possibly playing a part
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Iran has become the first country to issue a nation-wide ban on Pokémon Go, after it was ruled that the popular app presents a ‘security’ risk.

As reported by the BBC, the High Council of Virtual Spaces government body, which controls activity and content permitted online, decided to completely outlaw Niantic’s app.

Previous concerns over the suggestion that the location-driven app could access users’ Google accounts and files were dismissed by the developer, which clarified that only user IDs and email addresses were visible.

The High Council declined to issue further information on the cited security issues. It had previously stated that it would negotiate potential ways to keep the app live with Niantic, although these appear to have been ultimately fruitless.

Another contributing factor may be the game’s incompatibility with the beliefs of the country’s Muslim population.

Saudi sheikh Saleh al-Fozan previously voiced concerns that a former fatwa against the Pokémon trading card game would extend to Pokémon Go, as they both violate religious laws on forbidden images and gambling. However, this fatwa may only apply to al-Fozan’s region.