Published this summer, Pokémon Go application, a product of Niantic, in association with Nintendo has overrun many countries, including France, namely in July, 24 2016, Vietnam and Cambodia. The augmented reality game which has been downloaded between 50 and 100 million times on Google Play Store is continuing breaking the records. Nevertheless, a number of diverse facts, more or less quirky, have highlighted the risks residing in the usage of the game and its high reality interaction. In the view of the lawyers before, this technology has just democratized itself with this game, and thus the law has to quickly accompany with this society phenomenon in order to avoid the outbreaks.
Violation of private propriety:
One of the special features of Pokémon Go is the usage of augmented reality, a technique which permits the information overlap of the real world at the position of the wild Pokémon that the player need to catch. If these small virtual creatures are various to catch in public places, it is also possible to the player to bump into a Pikachu (a type of Pokémon) right in his own garden, the placement of Pokémon is generates randomly. Therefore, these new forms of privacy violation can arise due to the fact that Niantic put their virtual elements in the positions of the real property without the consent from the owner. The latter could be entirely powerless to face this situation, which can sometimes generate a real property violation by the very reckless player.
Violation of a private life of the players:
In the Pokémon Go, the player controls his in-game activities by his smartphone, via an avatar on a map directly synchronized with his real position, in the map of the real world. For the operation requirement of the game, the augmented reality goes couple with the geo-tracking of the player, which highlights some interrogation: By accepting the policy of confidentiality of Pokémon Go, the players authorize Niantic to track down their location each time they open the game. Nevertheless, the position of the spotting Pokémon is random and temporary; players increase their chances to bump into the rare Pokémon (the appearance chance is low) the moment the game is constantly opened, and by that, Niantic is permitted to easily track down the daily traveling of the players.
Niantic also leaves its policy of confidentiality vague and also reserves the right to collect personal information of the players, which is facilitated by the obligatory connection to their Google Account. However, this personal information access was limited, which follows a number of complaints of the players against Niantic, old subsidiary of …Google! Editor is authorized however, to transfer the personal data to the third company or to send the advertisement according to location of the player. The augmented reality thus presents the risk of privacy violation, which is sometimes quite serious. Such as in Dubai where the police is equipped with the “Google Glass”, a augmented reality integration glass which permits the police force to film discreetly the suspicious person and synchronize the image with the database of law offenders and thus, facilitates the arrest.
Potential violation of business life:
By travelling around and chasing Pokémon, players of Pokémon Go may make decision to screenshot their captured Pokémon and thus to share them on social networks. The players even take the photo with no authorization, the private space like offices, garden… or public places which prohibit the usage of recording devices like casino or museum. The danger is also more critical with the same type technology of “Google Glass” that the employees can discreetly use in their workplace in order to saving the confidential information or even bring up the risk of business secret violation.
This risk is quite practical with the playing of Pokémon Go since Niantic calibrate the spotting ground of Pokémon according the frequent places visited by the player, including the workplaces. A photo of a Pokémon appearing in your office can be potentially dangerous if the confidential documents are also figured in the backgrounds and the screenshots are shared in the internet after that.
Intellectual property violation:
In the Pokémon Go, the boutiques or the arenas are the precise place in the play map, which is corresponds to the popular places in the real world, such as certain monuments. Niantic therefore uses photos of those sites for the needs of their application, which in fact generates the difficulties against the law of Intellectual properties of each country. In United States, where the game is available for July, 6, there are the discretion of panorama, an exception of copyright that grant the player the right to freely and no need for authorization, take photo or record videos of the facility in the public spaces.
In France, this discretion of panorama has just been promulgated but more limited. The new added paragraph of article L.122 5 of Intellectual property Code, indicate that the author is not entitled to prohibit “the reproduction and the representation of the architectural works and the sculptures, placed permanently through publication, accomplished by physical person, but in exception of all the usage for commercial purpose. It is more likely probable that at this point, Niantic could be brought into a lawsuit since the company uses these monument photos for commercial purposes for its game via the augmented reality.
The upcoming of augmented reality:
With the breaking way of Pokémon Go, there is no doubt that the applications integrated with augmented reality will multiply quickly in the next few months and the law is required to quickly accompany this new phenomenon to govern the certain unknown risks.
A unique virtual application navigating its entire user through a handful of real sites is indeed concerned by the risks of trespassing of the restricted area; aside the traffic jam or others transportation accidents which are concerned before, who will be responsible if one of those sites becomes dangerous by a criminal presence using this application as a bait and a players got injured? In United States, a senator did request before the banning of this application to certain suspicious individuals.
To be closely supervised: Risks lied in a virtual application is unfortunately real, in fact…