Security Risk: Israel Bans Soldiers Playing Pokemon Go on Military Bases

Men play the augmented reality mobile game ''Pokemon Go'' by Nintendo on a mobile phone in Tokyo, Japan July 22, 2016. REUTERS/TORU HANAI - RTSJ4LO

(AP) – The IDF is warning its soldiers that the new, widely popular mobile phone game Pokemon Go could constitute a new kind of threat.

It announced Monday that it has banned its forces from playing the game on military bases due to security concerns. In a directive to soldiers and officers, the IDF warned that the game activates cell phone cameras and location services, and could leak sensitive information like army base locations and photographs of the bases.

The IDF is also concerned that soldiers could download a fake application that impersonates Pokemon Go but could leak information from soldiers’ phones.

Pokemon Go players roam streets and buildings holding up their mobile phones and following a digital map to catch creatures that appear on the screen.

Israeli civilians are also being warned about the perils of chasing Pikachu and other digital critters in the Pokemon Go game. Israel’s emergency rescue service Magen David Adom said distracted Pokemon players have suffered moderate injuries.

Indeed, last week, a 15-year-old girl suffered a head injury after she fell off her bicycle while pursuing Pokemon creatures, and a 35-year-old player ran into a glass door and suffered massive bleeding in his legs.”Apparently the game is not as friendly as we thought,” the Magen David Adom statement said.

The Israel Cancer Association has advised players not to go outdoors to catch Pokemon creatures in the middle of the day to avoid excessive sun exposure, and other tips to protect oneself from the sun’s rays.

“In the game itself, some of the Pokemon snatchers are always with a baseball hat on,” the association said on its website. “In the real world too, make sure you wear a hat before going outdoors.”

The AIG car insurance company in Israel is taking advantage of the Pokemon craze to market its personal accident insurance policy that covers accidents caused while playing such mobile phone games. Yifat Reiter of AIG said the company has received dozens of inquiries about the accident insurance for Pokemon players.