Iran has become the first nation in the world to have banned the popular app Pokémon Go.
The augmented reality game has become an overnight global phenomenon since its release last month, and Iranian authorities are the first to put a stop to the app taking off in their country.
It is believed that the app has been banned for security reasons due to the game’s location-based technology. Abolhasan Firouzabadi, who is Iran’s Head of Supreme Council of Virtual Space, states that any game or app that wished to operate nationally in Iran must first obtain permission from the country’s ministry of culture and Islamic guidance, and explains that Pokémon Go has yet to request permission to operate.
The ban came into effect once the nation’s intelligence apparatus approved the embargo.
The aim of the game is for players to roam their town in search of the famous creatures and catch them, before training them up to a high level and battling them at gyms. As the app requires access each device’s location settings and uses real world maps for the game, Iran has decided that this could pose problems for both the country and its citizens.
Niantic, the game’s developer, has recently announced that four Pokémon are native to certain continents: Mr. Mime is native to Europe, Tauros to North America, Kangaskhan to Australia, and Farfetch’d to Asia. With some young Iranians downloading and playing the game before the ban was put into place, they will certainly be left a little Farfetch’d as to why the game is no longer accessible in their own country.
Despite the ban, Iranian officials have hinted that the game may be allowed to be played in the country if a number of conditions were met, such as data servers being transferred inside of Iran, and exclusion of certain locations in the country.
This is not the first time that the Middle-Eastern nation has filtered the internet for such reasons. The country uses plenty of internet filtering software for one reason or another, with social media sites Facebook and Twitter among those blocked in the nation.
Services such as photo-sharing platform Instagram and messaging tool Telegram, which is used by one in every four Iranians, are not completely blocked by the Asian country. However, authorities are prepared to filter the site and block any content they deem to be inappropriate.