Pokemon GO is an augmented reality game that embeds virtual creatures in the physical space. Therefore, virtual and physical space co-exist as the virtual creatures Pokemon can appear anywhere, even in the garden of your neighbour. The goal of the game is to find and catch them.
The intersection of virtual and physical space urged legal professionals to start considering the impact of augmented reality games on privacy, data protection, road accidents, personal injury claims and trespassing.
Privacy and Data Protection:
Personal data protection and privacy are among the primary legal implications that need to be taken into consideration as information about locations is gathered, shared and stored. Personal data protection influences professional and social life, as well as, the private life of citizens.
In Cyprus, ‘The Processing of Personal Data (Protection of Individual) Law of 2001’ (138(I)2001) regulates the collection, the process and the use of personal data.
Road Accidents and Personal Injury:
Given that Pokemon can appear anywhere, the number of road accidents and personal injuries claims increases. Pokemon GO players are so obsessed with chasing Pokemon, consequently, they are less careful and tend to be more negligent. Personal injury caused by negligence or irresponsibility of the other party can be compensated adequately only if the victim seeks professional legal assistance immediately. That is to say, in case you have been injured while someone was chasing Pokemon, then we recommend you to consult a personal injury lawyer so that to receive the compensation you deserve.
As it has been explained, the goal of the game is to find and catch Pokemon in the real world. Consequently, players enter private properties, usually without any authorisation, to look for Pokemon and catch them. Therefore, trespass is another major legal implication that needs to be considered. Apart from entering private properties without any authorisation, in some cases, Pokemon GO players may cause damage while they are chasing Pokemon.
Based on article 43 of the Civil Wrongs Law (Cap. 148), ‘’trespass to immovable property consists of unlawful entry upon, or any unlawful damage to, or interference with, any such property by any person". In other words, entering private property without permission and/or causing unlawful damage to any private property. As a result, Pokemon Go players abide by the Law since playing Pokemon Go does not include any right to access a private property without prior authorization.