Now the U.S. government is wasting time and money trying to tell Pokémon Go players apart from security threats

The Pokémon Go craze seems to be almost over, but the U.S. government isn’t going to let that stop it from making sure the gameplay is regulated. The State Department issued a report on how to differentiate Pokémon Go players from security threats. Talk about a waste of time and money, since I would hope security officials are trained enough to be able to do that kind of deduction in their head. I mean, didn’t they see Homeland? What do they do at Quantico anyway? And if you answer that they test out Pokémon Go to really get into the heads of people wandering around PokéStops overseas, I might lose my head.

The State Department’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) sent a report called “Pokémon Go…Away,” to U.S. companies overseas with some helpful hints about how to properly assess PokéStops, and all it’s missing is some diagrams with different people looking at their phones. It advised that there is no demographic for Pokémon Go players (the game is popular with everyone, so there’s no way to profile), warned that players would be using two hands (one to hold their phone and one to swipe for the catch), and said they would only be wandering into a place for a minute tops (if they’re good, that is), whereas a spy might linger. It gets more absurd from there.

OSAC writes in the report:

  • Individuals may repeatedly return to or linger around a location if there is a PokéStop that they may use within the game. A PokéStop may be used once every five minutes, and may have a lure added to increase the rate of Pokémon produced. This is visible and usable by others, and may attract more players to the area. This may be mitigated by removing the PokéStop. 
  • Pokémon do not tend to reappear in the same place (if not near a PokéStop). Players who do not live or work locally should have no reason to repeatedly visit an area.
  • Individuals not actively catching a Pokémon may hold their phone at their side or in a pocket; those who choose to hold their phone in their hand should resemble someone texting as there is no reason for the phone to be held at an unusual angle or directed up at the sky or buildings.

OK, OK, I get it — trespassers can be a threat, and if someone is really spying, that’s not a great thing. But, wouldn’t a good spy or terrorist be able to pretend to play Pokémon GO as a clever cover for their recon mission on a location? Just something for the good ole State Department to consider.

This report might have been inspired by a July incident when a State Department spokesperson called a reporter out for playing Pokémon Go during a briefing on ISIS. What do you think is more important to the American people: that a security official spend time monitoring a person who may or may not be playing Pokémon Go or that a reporter isn’t paying any fucking attention during an ISIS briefing and not getting the story straight? I don’t know about you, but I would rather no one play Pokémon Go.

I’m glad taxpayer money went into sponsoring a report on such important affairs.