TRA warns of online games requesting your location

July 18, 2016

Location-based games could be used by criminals and can potentially invade privacy.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) in the UAE issued a warning to all mobile phone users against playing online games that request locations as it may potentially be used against them through various criminal activities.

“Some of these virtual reality games depend on new geo-positioning technology to track the locations of users and tap into their smart phone cameras, which makes the privacy of users open to predators. The TRA is warning all smart mobile and device users against using these applications in sensitive private places to ensure that their privacy and safety is secure,” Eng. Mohamed Al Zarooni, TRA Director Policy and Programs Department.

The announcement came after the sudden rise in popularity of games such as Pokémon Go. The game, which isn’t officially available in the country at the moment, uses your location so you can track down Pokémons by walking around your area and catching them.

While many are calling it a fun game, others are concerned that players might not pay attention when they’re playing especially when outside. There were already reports of gamers stopping in the middle of the road to catch a Pokémon. Reported robberies have also happened while users were playing the game.

Despite the reports, the game proved to be so popular it kept crashing the game servers, which caused the makers to halt the release of the game in some countries.

Location-based services on smartphones are already being utilized in a variety of ways as apps use the location to offer more localized content such as weather and news.

At the moment, the free Pokémon Go app is not available on the UAE Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. iOS users were able to download the game by changing their respective countries while Android users can side load the app and install it without going through the store.

7Days  reports that Pokémon Go will arrive officially in the country on a ‘probable’ date of July 27.

by Victor Philip Ortiz
Tech Enthusiast and Movie Buff. When he’s not busy playing with the latest games, Victor usually spends his time collecting Blu-rays and building his own movie library. As the Online Editor for T3 Middle East, he develops and writes content for www.T3ME.com which includes reviews, features, and videos in addition to managing its social media and web content.