“It’s what people call surveillance capitalism,” director Oliver Stone says of hit mobile game Pokemon Go…
One of the more unusual movies at San Diego Comic-Con was Snowden, director Oliver Stone’s forthcoming film about controversial whistle-blower, Edward Snowden. One of the few movies at Comic-Con that isn’t fantastical or superhero-based in some way, Snowden stars Joseph Gordon Levitt as the former CIA employee who leaked an enormous amount of previously classified information onto the web.
During the panel discussion for that film, Stone brought Niantic’s hit mobile app into a broader conversation about online surveillance. Warning of a “new level of invasion” into our private lives thanks to search giants like Google, Stone argued that “Pokemon Go kicks into that.”
“It’s not for profit at the beginning but it becomes for profit at the end,” Stone added, “because it creates its own awareness and it gets to us everywhere in the world, until it manipulates our behavior and we start to act like that. It has happened a bit already out there on the internet but you’ll see a new form – frankly, a robot society where they all know how you want to behave.”
This isn’t the first time security fears have been raised by Pokemon Go, with suggestions that the app’s capable of accessing users’ email information emerging shortly after the app’s release. Developer Niantic has since denied that Pokemon Go is capable of accessing or even sending emails from users’ accounts as some have claimed.
For Stone, however, Pokemon Go – which uses GPS to locate users as they hunt for Pokemon in the real world – is another example of “surveilance capitalism”.
“It’s what we call totalitarianism,” the director warns.