Israeli Army Warns Soldiers Over Pokemon Go Craze

The IDF is trying to fight soldiers’ use the game, which could allow sensitive information to be posted to the internet.

A Pokemon character superimposed on a photograph of the IDF military headquarters in Tel Aviv.
A Pokemon character superimposed on a photograph of the IDF military headquarters in Tel Aviv. Defense Ministry, Idan Moldovsky

The Israel Defense Forces has issued a message to soldiers that the new Pokemon game app, Pokemon Go, is not to be used on military bases. The new smartphone game, based on Nintendo characters like Squirtle and Pikachu, requires access to the players' location and camera in order for them them to play.

“The game is a source for gathering information!” reads the warning, issued by the IDF's Information Security Department, against the background of one of the Pokemon characters. “The game cannot be used on an army base!”

The Information Security Department is trying to fight soldiers’ use of apps and social media networks, which allow pictures to be posted to the internet. 

Any soldier in the IDF's intelligence division or special units is prohibited from disclosing that they serve online, and all soldiers are forbidden from "checking in" at bases or during military activities. Soldiers have been punished in the past for "checking in" to their bases on Facebook.

With the new Pokemon Go app, the fear is that soldiers might reveal sensitive information about military bases and army operations.