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shield-1376178_1280I draw dear reader’s attention to Indonesia’s concern with the effects of Pokémon Go, reflected in a ban on the app’s use by civil servants (see here), security forces (see here), the app being banned in locations including the Presidential Palace (see here) and, what a surprise, Indonesians largely ignoring the edicts (see here).

As is evident here, nobody seems too concerned with the illegality of downloading the game (this is Indonesia after all), but it does provide an amusing counterpoint for concerns the game could be used for illegal purposes. The concern that “the game can send data over the internet to other countries” seems to somewhat miss the point that that is what hundreds of millions of Indonesian phones already do and is the defining characteristic of the internet.

My suspicion is that concern over Pokemon Go fits into the xenophobic culture at the heart of Indonesia’s security forces, which extends right back to the nations’s independence in 1945.

As the New York Times states here

Indonesian politicians and security officials over the decades have frequently pushed the theory that the country is under constant threat from its Southeast Asian neighbors, as well as the West.

In March 2015, Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo, the Indonesian army chief at the time who is now the commander of the country’s armed forces, declared in a speech that there was a “proxy war” being waged by foreign elements to steal the country’s territory and get the nation’s youth hooked on drugs.

Or electronic drugs, like Pokemon Go.

In any case, I doubt this will be the last we hear of Pokémon Go in Indonesia, particularly with the authorities apparently split (see here) on how to handle the issue.

Update: In retrospect the title reflects a missed opportunity to the position Pokémon Go in the broader Southeast Asian context, a point made very impressively here.

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