Wary of spying, Indonesia bans police and military from playing Pokemon Go

Officials say the high-tech capabilities of Pokemon Go could be used in spying.

Indonesia has ordered police and military personnel not to play Pokémon Go while on duty, after the defence minister warned the smartphone game was a security threat.

The Jakarta presidential palace also prohibited playing the popular game around the premises with signs reading "Playing or hunting Pokemon is forbidden in the area of the palace".

Pokémon Go has become a worldwide hit since its launch two weeks ago and Indonesians have also joined the frenzy. The game has already been blamed for a wave of crimes, traffic violations and complaints in cities around the world.

Although Pokémon Go is not yet officially available in Indonesia, many have downloaded it illegally. They have taken it to the streets to hunt for virtual "pocket monsters".

The rising popularity has caused concern in the country's security establishment. Officials have suggested that high-tech capabilities of the game could be used in spying.

"Spying can come in different forms," Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu told AFP. "At first, it (Pokémon Go) appears cute but the longer you see... it is just not right," he added.

National police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar said police officers were already given an order on July 19 regarding this ban.

"We are worried that police officers may become addicted and we don't want that because a police officer's duty is to serve the public. The job requires hard work and concentration," he said.

Military spokesman Tatang Sulaiman said the military will soon issue an order banning all personnel from playing the game as it is important to protect high-security sites.

Pokémon Go uses smartphone satellite location, graphics and camera capabilities to overlay cartoon monsters on real-world settings, challenging players to capture and train the creatures for battles.

The officials believe that the devices which are being used to play the game can send data over the Internet to other countries.

Recently, a Frenchman was briefly detained when he accidentally wandered onto a military base on Java Island while playing Pokémon Go.

The police have been instructed to be on high alert for terror threats, especially after a suicide bomber attacked a police station in the city of Solo earlier this month.