Famed director Oliver Stone made an appearance at Comic-Con this week to promote his upcoming film, Snowden, which is about the leak of classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) by Edward Snowden. While talking about the importance of privacy in a seemingly heightened surveillance state, somehow the topic of Pokémon GO came up, to which Stone had some unkind things to say about the hit mobile game.
Instead of talking about the beauty of upgrading his Pidgey, the director talked about the possible repercussions of a game he likened to “surveillance capitalism.”
Stone went on to say the hit mobile game is “a new level of invasion,” warning that it could lead to totalitarianism. The New Oxford American Dictionary defines totalitarianism as a system of government that is centralized and dictatorial and requires complete subservience to the state.
“They are data mining every person in this room,” Stone said in front of an audience inside Comic-Con’s famed Hall H. “You’ll see a new form of frankly a robot society.”
Stone’s paranoia isn’t without merit. Soon after Pokémon GO was released, people panicked because it appeared developer Niantic was asking iOS users for “full account access” from those who signed in through Google. Niantic quickly issued a fix in response to the public outcry, saying Pokémon GO only accesses basic Google account information, which is common among apps today. “No other Google information is or has been accessed or collected,” Niantic said in a statement.
If it were up to Stone and Snowden, these apps wouldn’t ask for any access at all. At the very least, Snowden, who is reportedly hiding out in an undisclosed location in Russia, would prefer not to have his location tracked. Looks like he’ll never experience what it’s like to catch them all.