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You cannot catch ’em all if you happen to live in Tehran.

Iran has blocked Pokémon Go after the country’s High Council of Virtual Spaces expressed concerns about it posing a ‘security’ risk, according to the BBC. The government committee, which controls internet connectivity for Iranians, did not detail its concerns about the game that has players chasing down digital creatures in the real world by combining GPS and Google Maps technologies. Pokémon Go has dealt with criticism from a number of governments and citizens with regard to possible security risks. These concerns seem to largely stem from the game’s hyper-popularity, as it is one of the top downloaded and highest-grossing apps ever released for iOS or Android.

Following the release of the game in the United States in early July, people began pointing out that it could apparently access iPhone players’ entire list of Gmail contacts. But Niantic claimed, and outside observers confirmed, that these fears were unfounded. This has not stopped Pokémon Go from attracting the attention of a number of conspiracy theorists, who claim it is a CIA plot, an ISIS tool, and who the hell knows what else.


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But, of course, the technology here isn’t anything new. It already existed in the location-based game Ingress from developer Niantic, which is also responsible for Pokémon Go. But the concerns are more widely voiced here because of the volume of players engaging in the GPS-powered fun. That is one of the reasons that New York state said it is prohibiting 3,000 sex offenders from playing the game while they are on parole.

In Iran, however, the company did not point to any one issue as the reason behind its decision.

We’ve reached out to Niantic for a comment, and we’ll update this post with any new information.

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