Defense Department Issues Opsec Guidelines For Safe And Secure Pokemon Hunting

from the pokemon-go:-now-literally-played-by-everyone dept

Given the cultural phenomenon that is Pokemon Go, it was only a matter of time before security-conscious government agencies would be forced to confront the inevitable: that their employees would be joining in the quasi-AR madness.

Kristan J. Wheaton of the Sources and Methods blog was handed an apparently official document from the Defense Department that lays down several common sense rules for employees throwing imaginary balls at imaginary creatures. (A screenshot of the original document can be seen in Thomas Rid's tweet, embedded at the bottom of this post.)

One of my contacts (Thanks!) within the intel community put together a tip sheet for friends and family and, having read it, it sounds like good advice for anyone who wants to play Pokemon Go with a reasonable level of safety and privacy. Remember, it is a tip sheet and is designed to be helpful, not comprehensive. If it is not covered here, just remember D2S2 – Don’t Do Stupid Stuff.

Considering the source, the list of do's and do not do's is straightforward and on point. And, as Wheaton points out, good advice for anyone playing the game, not just those with high-level security clearances chasing down rarities behind CIA filing cabinets.

In short, make sure you're downloading the authentic application, be aware your location will be recorded, and -- more importantly, given the nature of DoD components -- the photos taken during Pokemon hunts might accidentally reveal something meant to stay hidden.

Be mindful of your surroundings when using this augmented reality (AR) mobile game, especially when taking pictures of Pokemon during the capture process. Note what's in the foreground and background, including reflective surfaces and information revealing identity and or location (street signs, vehicle license plates, Government buildings, etc.). Disabling AR makes Pokemon easier to catch! The location where you take a picture of a Pokemon is also likely embedded in the picture's metadata.

In addition, the DoD suggests employees use something other than their personal Google account to log in and to select usernames that do not reflect their IRL names.

Some classic military-industrial complex paranoia surfaces in the penultimate bullet point, however.

When physically visiting Pokestops and gyms, maintain awareness of your surroundings. Travel with a buddy or remain in your vehicle with the doors locked. It is not necessary to physically enter the real-world establishment where a Pokestop or gym is located, you may be able to interact with the Pokestop/gym from the curb or even across the street.

While there have been reports of strongarm robberies at bogus Pokestops, the whole "situational awareness" vibe adds far more cloak-and-dagger than seems absolutely necessary.

The full list at Wheaton's blog is worth a read, though, whether you're a normal citizen or a DC insider neck deep in redacted drone strike reports/Rattatas.


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  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 18 Jul 2016 @ 10:55am

    I wonder who will be the first intel worker to find their own pics while reviewing data sent to their TLA by Niantic and post "First!" in a classified document we get to see in 30 years.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TechDescartes (profile), 18 Jul 2016 @ 11:40am

    D'oh D

    GPS and a data connection (either WiFI or cellular (30/4G) data) arc required in order to play. ... The location where you take a picture of a Pokemon is also likely embedded in the picture's metadata.
    It's just harmless metadata. No big deal, right? Right?!?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Paul Renault (profile), 18 Jul 2016 @ 12:06pm

    So close...

    That document should have been 'declassified', for more goodly goodness.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Franko Peace, 18 Jul 2016 @ 12:10pm

    Don't Do Stupid Stuff?

    Great guidelines, but D2S2? If you're doing Pokemon, it's too late.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jul 2016 @ 12:32pm

    Pokemon Go is like Facebook ..

    Just say no.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jul 2016 @ 2:28pm

      Re: Pokemon Go is like Facebook ..

      Some people think it is dumb and I can understand their reasoning but on the other hand it is the first time in a long time that I have seen a lot of people out and about. Most have been friendly and respectful. Yes, there are dumb people doing dumb things but survival of the fittest will weed them out quickly. Overall, win/win.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Jeffrey Nonken (profile), 18 Jul 2016 @ 4:02pm

        Re: Re: Pokemon Go is like Facebook ..

        Yeah... started by downloading it out of curiosity -- the kids were playing it. Next thing you know, I'm wandering around outside work during a break. You know; on foot. Realized it was more exercise than I'd gotten in a while...

        I figured, what the hell, let's roll with it.

        Now I've got my bicycle out and working, new head- and taillights on order, spare phone power bank and chargers. No plans to stop just yet; quite the contrary.

        As for wandering into traffic and such... I grew up in a time and place and with parents who taught me to pay attention. Because the laws of physics laugh at the laws of man.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Jul 2016 @ 10:45pm

        Re: Re: Pokemon Go is like Facebook ..

        I work at an airport, we're seeing security increase patrols around our maintenance parking lot because of the caravan of cars looking for pokemon.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Skeeter, 18 Jul 2016 @ 2:14pm

    Two Thoughts on Pokemon Go

    1. Is the NSA concern about Pokemon related to possible EXIF Metadata showing sensitive information their real concern?

    2. Is the NSA actually troubled about how this 'addictive' game could distract everyone from that global 'fear-mongering' they have been trying to build towards recently, thus defusing their 'hard work' otherwise?

    Let's not forget the overlying issue - that this shows just how many sheeple there are in America, to those of us who don't chase little fantasies like children while in public.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 18 Jul 2016 @ 5:26pm

    Reminds me of a laughable "news story" infowars did about Pokemon Go

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Daydream, 18 Jul 2016 @ 8:41pm

    Not a word about drugs, terror, or copyright?
    Sensible (or at least not harmful) suggestions and recommendations?

    ...Are we SURE this is the US government? Not the UK or Australian or even Chinese?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jul 2016 @ 7:04am

      Re:

      Here, got this from where I work:

      "Pokémon Go is a geo-mapping app in which all of the information including imagery 'collected' by the players’ smart phone is uploaded to a central database. Players are basically acting as collectors for Google Earth, providing high-quality video of sites that are normally off-limits to Google Earth ground cameras. Please refrain from playing in Building XX. An official statement should be coming out shortly. It is not unlikely that the app will be banned from the Center as well."

      Sounds much more like the typical coocoo clock of paranoia I'm used to.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Name, 19 Jul 2016 @ 12:08am

    DOD Pokemon Hunting

    Sounds like a Duffle Blog post.


    http://www.duffelblog.com/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    www.uidai.gov.in status, 12 Aug 2016 @ 12:56am

    haaaaaaaai

    nice article

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    shivaay vs adhm, 27 Aug 2016 @ 12:04pm

    http://www.shivaayvsadhm.in/

    Biggest Clash Of 2016 http://www.shivaayvsadhm.in/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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