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Pokemon GO and safety concerns regarding the incense lure


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#1 Rick

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Posted 25 July 2016 - 12:25 AM

So that game has taken the world by fire. huh?, well, there is a way to get other people to gather to where you are, with an item called incense, it lures pokemon to where you are and other people can also go after the pokemon.

 

I thought the whole pokemon go was pretty innocent until I found out about the item, and how effective it is, I saw this video on youtube, it's a USA based tv show in Spanish called "al rojo vivo", they used the item and successfully lured teenagers to their location, and proceeded to ask them questions on camera about sexual predators, they didn't know what that meant.

 

Nintendo should get niantic to regulate that incense so only the user is affected by it, I've already seen lots of discussion on how this could be used to get people to go to where they can be mugged, or worse. Imagine kids being sexually abused because they were attracted to a location convenient to the predator.

 

I couldn't stand by and do nothing so I tried contacting nintendo about it, after an hour of searching for the most appropriate means I found a corporate responsibility email, just so they could respond saying that I should contact the pokemon company. Well, I did that, and I got an automated response on how everyone on the pokemon website can see other people's info on pokemon go or something like that. I rejected that as a solution and I'm waiting for an answer.

 

I know that just one person won't get them to change that before someone gets hurt, I would appreciate it if more people contacted them about changing the mechanics of the incense lure item.

 

This is how you do it.

 

go to this address http://support.pokemon.com/

 

You need to make a pokemon account, after you get one, go back to that website, it should take you to a screen with three tabs, you'll need to go to the second one "request support", right bellow click "ask a question", on product select "other/pokemon go" and write them asking them to change the incense so it only affects the user, because it's dangerous and people could be lured to places where they will be harmed, they could get mugged or raped like this.

 

Then we'll see what happens

 

Edit: Well, they responded, they told me to contact niantic, I kind of saw it coming. Niantic doesn't have any means of contact on this sort of things, you can contact them about other things like reporting inappropriate behavior... so I pretty much don't know if there is anything else I can do.


Edited by Rick, 25 July 2016 - 05:53 PM.

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#2 Neptas

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Posted 25 July 2016 - 09:12 PM

I was already well aware of that kind of problems due to the game manipulating people's behaviors and movement too much. What's funny is that one of my friend is heavily into the game, and when I tell him on how the game can be used for very bad stuff, he just says: "Yeah I know, but the game's fun still". I know right? I bet stealing is also fun for some people. 

 

Nintendo can't do much though, Pokemon belong to the Pokemon Company, they are just affiliated. Niantec is an obscure company and has weird stuff going on with Google. Even if you bring by yourself the problem to them, they won't case. The only solution I think is to make it go viral and gathers a lot of people to make pressure on them. 

 

If it's just a single case, Niantec will just reply: "Well some guy once killed their parents because he thought he was still in a game, not our fault if some people are crazy. Don't play the game if you're stupid lolthkbye"

 

What worried me the most is not the game in itself, but the doors it open for many people. Big companies, politicians, or just other bad-intentioned people now realize how good mobile games are able to manipulate people. Not only you already have their life on the Internet if you look deep enough, now you can manipulate their physical movements to exactly where you want (not just a random 500 meters radius, no, you can have them standing a few inch from where you want them to). That doesn't sound at all dangerous, right? Sadly, even if Niantec changes the incense now, I'm pretty sure we will soon see another game that copy the same principle, but with even more mass manipulation behind (I personally bet on a Pokemon Go 2, with a bunch of train-hype behind to gathers even more people, with 2nd or possibly  3rd generations).


Edited by Neptas, 25 July 2016 - 09:14 PM.


#3 Rick

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Posted 26 July 2016 - 02:22 AM

Yeah, I feel kind of guilty for not contacting niantic, but I pretty much gave up. They only respond to things like reporting unfriendly users, I at least wanted to feel like I tried.

 

The problem I see with social media and making this dangers known is that it's being obscured by fake news of people getting run over by cars and falling off bridges. Too many fake news went viral as early as the second day it was released. Like one about a person from New Zealand, it was obviously fake because making a web search with the victim's name and pokemon go about it only showed results in Spanish, none in the native language of New Zealand.

 

Sadly, a few days ago I did encounter one case of a person that was playing pokemon go that was real, I checked the sources thoroughly. Police say the the person who was shot 20 times may have been lured, but after looking at several repeats of the same news all I found is that it was pure speculation from police, with no bases other than that it could be a possibility, and at the same time they said it could have been a robbery gone wrong. Comments from people on the news pages say that the city (Guatemala, in Mexico) is very dangerous, I found a couple of comments that said that 20 shots are not normal, and he may have been targeted specifically by the criminals.

 

On this case I did find two conflicting statements, one says that the victim and his cousin where walking by train tracks when they were attacked, but one page states that they were trespassing private property. I could not tell which one was the original source.

 

After all of this... I'm kind of feeling like I never want to play a pokemon game again, since they didn't care about the safety of the players.



#4 foxbunny

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Posted 26 July 2016 - 02:36 AM

I'm a bit confused here. What exactly is your endgame?

Had you your druthers, ________ would change tomorrow regarding Pokemon Go.

Be specific. 



#5 Rick

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Posted 26 July 2016 - 11:17 PM

the lure item is what I would change, it attracts pokemon to where you are, and other people go after them. It can be used by criminals to attract people to a certain location and mug or hurt them.



#6 foxbunny

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Posted 27 July 2016 - 01:37 AM

OK, I'm not sure I understand your reasoning here.

Lure Modules don't let you set the location (i.e. some dark alley)--you can only use Lure Modules at Pokestops. People go to Pokestops anyway and these are set locations. Eliminating the modules wouldn't prevent what you want to prevent (because people go to these places anyhow).

If your goal is to keep people from being able to attract others to an area you would want to eliminate Pokestops and Gyms. That is, you need to remove the social aspects of the game. Is that not correct?


Edited by foxbunny, 27 July 2016 - 01:37 AM.


#7 James SilverWolf

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Posted 27 July 2016 - 06:40 AM

Even if the lures were not a problem (and they could become a bigger one if someone depraved enough sets their sights on hacking the things in question for their own purposes), the data mining and retention is.  I'll point folks here: http://www.activistp...t-act-cant.html here: http://www.activistp...lity-craze.html and here: https://medium.com/@NafeezAhmed/how-the-cia-made-google-e836451a959e Of course, don't believe everything you read, online, or otherwise... but if even some of this is true, it does raise the questions, can niantec be trusted with all that data, what happens to facial recog. or other data that might just happen to be collected in a "shot" along with the pokemon? Can "lures" not be modded to act as a lure for people (Such as how cell towers are faked by Stingray devices)? etc.


Edited by James SilverWolf, 27 July 2016 - 06:50 AM.

Ephesians 5:11
Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of evil, but rather, Expose them.


#8 foxbunny

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Posted 27 July 2016 - 11:54 AM

The reason I asked my question is because the title of this thread made no sense. Incense lures only work for an individual. Lure Modules can only be used at Pokestops. Here's how you can "fake" a lure:

1. Send a message out saying there are rare Pokemon being caught near a Pokestop.

 

That's it. Of course, you could do that without even having the game. No need for Lure Modules or Incense. The reason for this? The game is AR. There have been many AR games in the past, but none so rapidly popular. Essentially, you would need to eliminate all social aspects of the game to make it "safe." That is, no two people would see the same Pokemon in the same area regardless of any other factor.

 

As far as data collection, we need to run the "so what" test. Data are collected all the time. How much time you spend on this site is one type of data that is being collected right now. Same with cell phone use. Same with not having a cell phone or internet access. Data are collected. The test asks us to consider what could happen with those data.

Data about individuals are seldom useful. Unless the data are extremely limited and specific in scope (i'll note an example shortly). Generally, it's data about groups that have value. Traffic patterns are really useful. Not where people go, but how they go. Are they driving? Walking? Taking public transportation? Who might be interested in these data? People who sell cars. City planners. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Nothing is sinister about data collection in general--every company engages in this. Kroger (grocery story) collects data and sends custom coupon packets for items the person buys already. It's not to be nice, but to increase the number of trips to the store or increase the buy per trip (that's what coupons are for, by the way). In the case of Niantic, there are close ties to Google. Maybe Google will use the data to update Maps by seeing how people travel to areas? We don't know, and that's scary.

 

People might do a lot of things. People who want to hurt others will go to lengths to do so. The thing to remember is that children are hurt, killed, or molested most often (more than 3/4 of all incidents) by family members or close family friends. This bears out with most violent crime consistently. (More data that have been collected, by the way). So we can be really worried about what someone might want to do at some point in the future using some technology, but we still need to apply the "so what" test. Does the level of danger actually change? Is a child playing Pokemon Go significantly more likely to be assaulted than one who is not? Are there factors other than the game (say, having been taught how to be in public safely) at play? And then, we also need to think about if there is anything good about a technology (or game, or pastime, or whatever).

 

So, I believe that the lures in Pokemon Go are not the issue. The issue is that there's something new and people get scared because it's new and they don't know a lot about it. Fear and lack of understanding are positively correlated in these cases.



#9 Rick

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Posted 27 July 2016 - 03:27 PM

it's not the lure module, it's the incense that can be used to attract other people to specific locations.



#10 Rick

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Posted 27 July 2016 - 03:30 PM

The reason I asked my question is because the title of this thread made no sense. Incense lures only work for an individual. 

 No they don't, I've seen it several times (on videos, I don't have a smart phone), incense is used by one person and other are affected by it.

 

Before knowing about the incense, I wasn't really concerned, it's just a new game that makes people walk, most incidents involving pokemon go are to blame on the user, like not paying attention to their surroundings, or driving while playing pokemon go (which did happen, guy crashed his brother's car, but he made it alive, luckily).

 

Initially when people talked about the incense I thought they meant the lure module, and since you can only use it on pokestops and gyms I wasn't really concerned.


Edited by Rick, 27 July 2016 - 03:37 PM.


#11 foxbunny

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Posted 27 July 2016 - 07:38 PM

Incense only has an effect on the spawns for one person, not an area. This is noted in a post that suggests using incense with multiple people. https://m.reddit.com...ncense_parties/
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#12 Rick

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Posted 27 July 2016 - 07:59 PM

Well, that's a breath of fresh air! what a relief! thank you so much for that info.

 

Good thing, it would have been so horribly dangerous.



#13 foxbunny

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Posted 27 July 2016 - 09:18 PM

I would think the concern came up in a developer meeting at some point. 

 

I had no interest in the game until I saw your post, so I installed it to see what it was all about. Pretty boring, imho.

 

I just wanted to be sure that we have valid concerns. For this game, I think the biggest concern is for general technology use. Pay attention to your surroundings. Don't go to unfamiliar places--particularly when alone. Related are the general life in the city issues: Don't talk to strangers and be home before curfew. Things like that. When we say something that is untrue we are feeding the lie machine. Similarly, we need to be sure not to fall for needless fears about what might possible happen if the situation should perhaps go in a certain way. Christians shouldn't be involved with lies and fear.



#14 Rick

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Posted 27 July 2016 - 10:36 PM

I think things have been better than people expected in terms of accidents and safety. So many fake stories went viral right on the second day.

 

On the other hand there have been some very positive news, like autistic people socializing, people with severe depression finding some relief, and overall many are just having a good time while walking and getting some exercise.  



#15 Godline

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Posted 18 August 2016 - 07:22 AM

I'm so suspicious of the game.  There do seem to be some benefits but I wonder what the problem could be in a spiritual sense.  The most simplistic answer is the addictive aspect.  You're spending so much time thinking about Pokemon that you're letting your prayer life/devotional time slip.  But it could be much more sinister.  I've heard of people getting possessed through their uber app, so I can't imagine if there's a hidden danger there with Pokemon Go!



#16 James SilverWolf

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Posted 20 August 2016 - 12:23 AM

Well,  possession as I understand it is a bit of a complicated thing, if a person does get possessed, odds are they've done something severe enough to give the devil in question permission to have that degree of control over them, a conscious (if misinformed, as often trickery/deception is involved, a person typically won't be keen on such a thing if they know they're going to be possessed, typically) forfeiture, and even in such cases, a singular action may not be enough to allow that level of control.  'course as I understand it,  possession is a thing that works on "permissions" since people are given Free Will, if a spirit could just up and posses a person without that person giving them any "legal grounds" to do so, would be a violation of their free will and ability to choose, not something I think is permitted by the Laws God established in the functioning of the universe, and if a devil could just posses anyone without grounds to do so, then they could just simply posses anyone about to accept Christ and get them to deny doing so.  devils may be evil, but even they have to follow established cosmological function.  In this case, unless someone makes an idol out of the pokemon game, I don't think they're going to be likely to get possessed just from playing it.  Although granted I am not an expert in such matters.


Ephesians 5:11
Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of evil, but rather, Expose them.





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