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NBTC demands no-go zones for ‘Pokemon Go’

BANGKOK: The national telecom regulator will send an urgent letter to Pokemon Go developer Niantic Inc, asking the US-based firm to set four “no-go zones” for players in Thailand in order to ban them from entering restricted and dangerous areas.

technology, accidents,


Bangkok Post

Wednesday 10 August 2016, 08:58AM


An incredulous Bodindecha (Sing Singhaseni) School student checks his phone against the poster banning ‘Pokemon-Go’ on school premises – supposedly to ensure they won’t be distracted from their studies. Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul
An incredulous Bodindecha (Sing Singhaseni) School student checks his phone against the poster banning ‘Pokemon-Go’ on school premises – supposedly to ensure they won’t be distracted from their studies. Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul

The four restricted areas encompass state properties, temples, private zones and dangerous areas including roads, waterways and railways.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) also ordered all mobile operators to provide Pokemon Go Players’ Guides.

The regulator also wants operators to set up parental controls on the use of the augmented reality mobile game, by setting up automated alert systems as a warning for the parents of players to remain alert while their kids are playing in order to prevent shock bills.

The move came after many complaints were made about a number of gamers who entered several sensitive areas playing the game following its launch in Thailand on Saturday (Aug 6).

The resolution came yesterday Aug 9) after a discussion among representatives of the NBTC, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, and five mobile operators, said NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith.

Mr Takorn said True Corporation, which won the rights in 2014 to exclusively sell Pokemon items and develop a localised version of Pokemon video games with characters and themes unique to Thailand, will help the NBTC to gather information to be sent to Niantic.

True also holds exclusive rights for the marketing and all information released in the country through its collaboration with Niantic.

He added that the NBTC also ordered mobile operators to provide information and an easy to understand handbook for all game players by Friday (Aug 12.

The NBTC urged mobile operators to help improve their alert system for parents in the event their child buys items excessively while playing or processes unintentional purchases.

Mr Takorn said some operators have also set an alert system whereby a notification message will be immediately sent to parents as they approach their credit limits.

Today, Advanced Info Service (AIS) and Total Access Communication (DTAC) allowed their customers to buy items from online games through both credit card purchases and monthly bill payments.

The two companies already have a credit limit system to prevent excess purchases, with the credit limit set at B1,000 per one-time purchase and B8,000 per month for DTAC and B10,000 per month for AIS.

However, TrueMove has yet to allow its customers to buy items through online games via monthly bill payments. Purchases can only be made by debit and credit cards.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said that despite his concerns over safety, it was an individual’s right to play the game. However, the Information and Communication Technology Ministry was also assigned to discuss with telecom operators whether it was possible to exclude government locations from the gaming app.

“What makes me worry is the safety of the players. They could face possible dangers such as robbery or rape if they play Pokemon Go in deserted or inappropriate areas,” Gen Prayut added.

Game playing must not be allowed in government areas and players’ safety must be prioritised, he added.

Several state areas have announced plans to ban Pokemon Go in their areas, including Government House, the Defence Ministry, schools, forest reserves and national parks, and temples.

Also yesterday, the Department of Land Transport (DLT) ordered drivers of public transport vehicles to not play Pokemon Go during work.

DLT deputy chief Nanthapong Cherdchoo warned public transport drivers that they could face charges if they use their mobile phones while driving. They could also be fined B1,000 if passengers file a complaint against them with the department.

Read original story here.

 

 

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