Security risks not limited to playing Pokemon Go

I was amused to read the two letters on Pokemon Go last Thursday.

Mr Matthew Ong Koon Lock ("Make firm accountable for game-linked endangerment") curiously calls for the game creators to be held accountable for any endangerment, rather than for greater personal care and responsibility on the part of those playing the game.

It is difficult to grasp the logic of such a position. Should we hold knife makers accountable when people use kitchen knives to injure and kill? Or pharmaceutical companies, when people overdose on medicine?

Meanwhile, Ms Estella Young ("Think twice about giving Pokemon Go-ahead") calls for the Government to reconsider allowing Pokemon Go into Singapore, citing security concerns. She is worried that a terrorist could lure a crowd into an area, then launch an attack.

Unfortunately, there are already many such crowded and vulnerable areas in Singapore, such as at sales or queues at popular foodstalls and hawker centres. Should we also ban these, since they draw crowds that could become targets for terrorists?

There needs to be a better understanding of how technology works these days.

Even if the app is banned, people can easily find backend ways to download it. There is no way to effectively stop content from spawning here, since that is done on servers located outside the country.

Pokemon Go is a breakthrough in augmented reality. The game has demonstrated the potential and viability of the technology. It has also brought people out of their homes and into their communities.

Let us focus on the positives instead of harping on the few isolated negative incidents.

Angeline Wong Hui Wei (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2016, with the headline 'Security risks not limited to playing Pokemon Go'. Print Edition | Subscribe