Illustration by Jim Cooke
This is a conspiracy-minded article from a Russian writer Artem Dragunov, originally posted here. It's difficult to agree with all of his conclusions, but the article certainly gives food for thought...
Assume that I am an evil, terrible man who is plotting to destroy the world while sitting at a dark bunker.
I’ve distributed a game to the whole world. A game that is PHYSICALLY carried by millions of people across the whole planet.
Previously I’ve been spying on the world from their computers. But I need to reach the street, the bathrooms, the spa. The places where there are no computers.
I need to track the situation at a particular location. Not just by taking pictures from a satellite once in a while, but every day, every hour.
I activate my Pokemons and upload their tasks in that region. Thousands of people go out to the streets, looking for what I’ve sprayed on the map. They monitor all that I need. Exactly where I need it. I collect information on all movements - visual, audio, GPS locations, timestamps. Who caught a particular Pokemon. When, where and how did it happen.
Essentially I can run a search at any location and analyze users’ reactions. From this information I can deduce which areas are out of bounds for users, where the cell reception is bad and other stuff like that.
On top of that, I can build a scheme to exchange encrypted info and transmit securely encrypted messages.
Basically I manage the movement of multiple people by making them place their smartphones (with their powerful processors) EXACTLY WHERE I NEED THEM.
I know everything about smartphone owners and about their movements.
Previously I knew about their movements, but now I can initiate and control their activities.
I have a database of military officers, VIPs, persons of interest to me and I can spy on them with my game.
If an officer is not stupid, he still has children or stupid family members. Who catch Pokemons.
By harnessing the processing power of smartphones, I am capable of generating maps in real time. And of constantly scanning the "meatspace" in real time as well.
But that’s not all. Any Pokemon catcher is a potential spotter for weapon guidance systems, including weapons of mass destruction.
Let’s play a game.
I am a puppet master at a certain Company’s office.
I have distributed a game and I have two players:
Alice from Denver, Colorado.
Bob from San Diego, California.
They play regularly while I watch them catching Pokemons on my monitor. I have a map that marks the routes of their daily commute, their trips to a grocery store, etc. I can make them slightly deviate from these routes or make them catch Pokemons at any point of a route. This way they will move their cameras at any direction that I need, for example videotaping tank factories, nuclear missile silos and other secret objects.
By directing dozens of catchers at this route and these locations I have a regular, real time image of an object that interests me.
How To Spy on a Nuclear Sub
A secret submarine must leave on a classified mission, route unknown. One thickhead, who has been catching Pokemons at the base, is on board. It’s easy to find this thickhead. Search the net and find a soldier who brags about his service and catches Pokemons.
Submarine leaves, the thickhead is offline.
Two weeks later, our thickhead starts to catch Pokemons 2000 miles away, at a port where our satellites haven’t spotted anything interesting. Our intelligence doesn’t have time to penetrate that port. But I already know where is the submarine.
I know the base and I know the end point. After a while the signal goes off. Meaning that the submarine is returning to the base. But I already know its route. If I need, I activate the signal and send a torpedo at the signal. Kaboom.
Scenario #2. I have send remotely controlled bombs in a such manner that customs cannot detect them.
For example, the bombs are in a container with TV sets being shipped from Asia to London.
At the destination port I just need to send a Pokemon catcher close to the ship’s location and make a phone call from his smartphone to the remotely controlled detonator. Kaboom.
Scenario #3. I need to track a VIP. Normally I send a surveillance team. But now I just need to have one Pokemon catcher among the VIP’s bodyguards.
Scenario #4. I need to establish surveillance on a group of people, for example military officials or a board of directors. I activate Pokemon catchers in close proximity to the persons or locations of interest, and manage the surveillance via the “eyes” or the “ears” of my Pokemon catchers. I can easily find out whether a car has parks on a designated spot or if a person of interest has went through a certain door.
Scenario #5. We can establish a cipher and by the mere movement of catchers and their Pokemon targets I can transmit information to a colleague.
There are a lot of scenarios in a similar vein.
The Powers Behind The Game
And now to the main part.
There is nothing wrong with the augmented reality tech itself. It’s a fun development. But any fun technology will always be utilized for other, sinister ends. It’s hard to notice but for persistent advertising and an aggressive marketing campaign of a product, which wouldn’t have become that popular otherwise.
No company, no developer besides a couple of tech giants wouldn’t be able to run such an aggressive marketing campaign across the whole world. Definitely not Pokemon or their partner Nintendo. But the campaign is there. And behind its incredible success there is a certain POWER.
When I can run surveillance from satellites, desktop computers, mobile devices and also send these devices to interesting locations, I basically control the world.
Those who have access to Google’s databases, PokemonGo databases, Facebook/Instagram/WhatsApp databases - basically can see and hear THE WHOLE WORLD.
An average person doesn’t give a damn about that. But to certain countries and secret service I recommend to give this matter a lot of thought.
At some point in time, toys will stop being toys and start being systems of weapon targetings, remote detonators, secret message encryption systems and aids for undercover operations.
And now the main point. The main features of such a deceitful system are not activated yet. If time is lost, the system will be upgraded with new modules including AI, airstrike targeting, system hacking, etc.
Are you catching Pokemons in a server room? In a major company’s office?
Congratulations! It’s worse than ebola for your system. You know why? Because I, a terrible, evil man know for sure that if I need some information from that office, I can activate the smartphone’s camera and collect the info. If not, I can make you MOVE YOUR ASS, walk a few steps to the room with what I want and catch the ebola Pokemon.
The Cover Story
This is the official head of the project. Formal figurehead. But even in formalities the brilliance of an intelligence service can shine.
And this is the cover company. Shame that they’ve used Pokemons, they have nothing to do with it. Ninja turtles, candy crash and angry birds probably were more difficult to contact.