Government Considers First Pokemon Go Regulations

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By Emily Zanotti | 7:07 pm, July 14, 2016

Pokémon Go players have certainly had their fair share of run-ins with the law this week — mostly on the wrong side of it. Two men sustained serious injuries and are facing possible charges after falling down a cliff in California chasing Pokemon. Two teens were arrested in Toledo after jumping fence into the Toledo Zoo following the digital creatures. And in LA, police are chasing after Pokémon Go players who wander on to random neighbors’ lawns.

But the app itself is now the target of lawmakers, who want to regulate the game, claiming that the app poses a significant risk to public safety, and the fun must end.

One New York Assemblyman is considering drafting some sort of restriction on the game, claiming that Pokémon Go, which involves battling digital creatures, could have “tragic real-world consequences.” Brooklyn Democrat Felix Ortiz, who is well known for curbing New Yorkers’ fun (he’s led crusades against sugar, alcohol, and strip clubs), says that Nintendo has a “corporate responsibility” to make sure that its customers don’t make terrible decisions.

Senator Al Franken is also looking into Pokéon Go. The former SNL star and Minnesota Democrat has written a letter to Niantic, the company responsible for programming the augmented reality portion of the app, asking them how much information they’re collecting from users, and what they plan to do with that information.

If his questions go unanswered, Franken could call for Congressional hearings on the subject. That might be bad news for Niantic, but it could be good news for the thousands of Pokémon Go players who are flocking to Capitol Hill in D.C. to nab the critters in the hallowed halls of Congress.

Some lawmakers, of course, are responding as favorably to Pokemon Go as the rest of the gaming community. Rep. Lynn Jenkins caught a Spearow on her office sofa on Thursday.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin caught a Meowth in his official residence Wednesday evening. The comment says “Somebody call security.”