Clarification on WHY US Military bases are banned?



  • TrevorAlan-PGOTrevorAlan-PGO Posts: 985 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I can't tell how its coming across because of the *** censoring stars. I'm trying to say I feel like im making a fool out of myself. I do understand some of the counterpoints, and just trying to give a counterpoints to those. But also when I get a comment of "its the way it is" That seems inadequate? Aren't we all on here to get clarification on things, and when it doesn't make sense try to improve/change it?

  • WheelTrekker-INGWheelTrekker-ING Posts: 3,289 ✭✭✭✭✭
  • TrevorAlan-PGOTrevorAlan-PGO Posts: 985 ✭✭✭✭✭

    There's not much thats forbidden on base either. Like random family and civilians can't go into an office building on a base without permission or an escort, but otherwise its normal stuff, like obviously you cant just walk onto a runway.

  • Hosette-INGHosette-ING Posts: 3,303 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @TrevorAlan-PGO Other than getting this answered in an AMA I'll be surprised if you get a response. I'll be properly stunned if you get Niantic to change their policies. As I mentioned earlier in this discussion Niantic is very conservative around things that could expose them to either legal threats or bad PR. Allowing things on military bases would present ample opportunity for both. It's much easier for them to declare everything on military bases off-limits than it is for them to try to create nuance about bases, especially since different countries may have vastly different organizational structures and laws about bases.

    How would you even wordsmith this in a way that created unambiguous rules that submitters and reviewers could follow without having to understand a lot about military bases around the world?

  • TrevorAlan-PGOTrevorAlan-PGO Posts: 985 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Yeah, Im probably going to leave it to the AMA. And IDK how one word word it, other than just making it a US difference and leaving it at that? I was just getting annoyed when people in my view were arguing that US military bases are like other countries since they aren't.

    So I'll just hang up my cap here and see what comes of the AMA.

  • cyndiepooh-INGcyndiepooh-ING Posts: 1,148 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Interesting choice of words that "Niantic won't allow it" because they go through in the housing sections of the military bases near me and are featured on my Showcase.

  • Jtronmoore-PGOJtronmoore-PGO Posts: 1,581 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2021

    I’m not saying to stop playing on bases. I’m saying to stop bringing this issue up as it wont change. The rule came into effect because different military commanders made the decision and thats what niantic will follow until it changes. As with anything that happens in the military it generally boils down to “do as you are told” or the other rule many go by is “easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission”. Take that how you want :)

  • SSSputnik-INGSSSputnik-ING Posts: 109 ✭✭✭
    edited September 2021

    The main reason I thought they were banned was because access is limited.

    There are also rules at many bases that ban photography.

    (This varies from country to country, I know that in Australia, part of military employment contract states, no photography without base command permission).

    In our city, we have a number of land bases and 1 offshore island base. The island base has some public access, (it's not within the base) but then there is a military area only, and then, a secure, restricted access area, (torpedo loading zone).

    The land bases basically have 1 single local player who is able to enter them, they then can dominate the game from them. None of the bases allow public in, at all, unless escorted.

    Now laws vary from country to country, but Niantic cannot pick and choose which bases allow people in and which don't, so a blanket ban on new portals was introduced.

  • SSSputnik-INGSSSputnik-ING Posts: 109 ✭✭✭

    Maybe where you live, again, rules vary in different countries, nobody without a valid pass can enter ours.

  • sophielab-INGsophielab-ING Posts: 266 ✭✭✭✭

    No. It's based on all operational areas being off limits to all geo-locations apps. There is a Department of Defense memo issued in 2018 regarding this. The non-operational areas are up to commanding officer's decision. It can vary from base to base so like the sidewalk rule for single family prp boundary, the more conservative approach is taken. Unfortunately, players have been ignoring this and approving stuff in some cases.

  • NisamNitko-PGONisamNitko-PGO Posts: 41 ✭✭

    They go through due to bad reviewers who don't follow the guidelines, and not Niantic.

  • CipherBlakk-PGOCipherBlakk-PGO Posts: 308 ✭✭✭✭

    Bases aren't banned, though. The only thing the criteria says, for rejection, is "anything that interferes with the operation of military bases." Any statue or monument or display, where are pretty common on bases, is going to be accessible and won't interfere with the operation of things. You can look on Google maps and easily identify the residential and park areas, as well as tons of different buildings, to include the boundary of the base. There is nothing secret, and there is nothing against using a GPS on base, either.

    There's no reason why POIs in clear public areas would be against the criteria.

  • sophielab-INGsophielab-ING Posts: 266 ✭✭✭✭

    @Hosette-ING It's a little bit more complicated. Operational areas include boring buildings with just paper pushing involved but might have some really nice plaques etc. They are in no way dangerous or interfere with emergency services which is what I think most reviewers would be thinking but the are explicitly forbidden in the memo from geo location apps. Also, the 80m of interaction would have to be taken into account. It's more complicated that an average reviewer might be able to handle.

  • CipherBlakk-PGOCipherBlakk-PGO Posts: 308 ✭✭✭✭

    And with that "policy" ... that link is not a policy, it's just an article which is pretty old at this point, and talks about the ACTUAL policy being up to the base commander. The commander will decide what is and isn't an operational location for purposes of prohibiting GPS and other devices, and that information will be told to the personnel. This means that in those specific sections of the base, you simply won't be able to bring your phone. You won't be able to submit POIs because you won't have your phone on you, unless you, as a military person, are disobeying the policy. Since you can't submit the POI, and you can't even play your game, the likelihood of anyone having to worry about approving a POI in an area affected by this policy is pretty low, again, unless people are disobeying the policy. And if they are just to play a game, they'll be caught eventually. It's not wayfarer reviewers who need to concern themselves with the policy details. They only need to worry about whether the POI appears to be in a valid area, which isn't much different than what you need to consider for POIs outside of military bases, and that's consistent with Niantic's criteria.

  • TrevorAlan-PGOTrevorAlan-PGO Posts: 985 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Sorry for the crappy GIF... But look up any base in the US on google maps. They have full 3D maps. Every building is labeled. You can GPS directions to any POI on a base even back in the TomTom Garmin GPS days. They aren't secret or a breach of national security to be "mapped". Look at the sports fields, playgrounds, skate park, dog park... Whats wrong with those???

    (Peterson AFB/SFB pictured)

  • Hosette-INGHosette-ING Posts: 3,303 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2021

    @TrevorAlan-PGO I suspect what's wrong with them is that it's much easier for Niantic if they just say all bases are off limits than if they try to create complex and nuanced rules for military bases. There's much less risk of negative repercussions for them. Remember that Niantic's wayspot rules are global, not on a per-country basis.

    Seriously, here's an exercise: Pretend you are in charge of creating Wayfarer eligibility rules. How would you write guidelines accomplish these goals?

    • Ensure that they meet the laws and restrictions in all countries
    • Allow the sorts of "local village" wayspots you're talking about, but only in areas where the base would be OK with people playing geolocation games
    • Maintain an understanding of the details of eligibility worldwide as circumstances change
    • Make it easy for submitters and reviewers to know what is and isn't eligible, again worldwide
    • Accomplish all of this in a way that is both accurate and cost-effective

    That's what Niantic would have to do in order for them to allow some but not all wayspots on bases. How would you accomplish that?

    Post edited by Hosette-ING on
  • sophielab-INGsophielab-ING Posts: 266 ✭✭✭✭

    @SSSputnik-ING US

    There are many poi's that are easy to see whether or not they'd qualify but it would be difficult to explain to a reviewer why a plaque on a building in a gated corporate is ok and why one on an office building located on a military base isn't. The op has admitted to seeing things like that in proposed nominations earlier in this thread so someone obviously tried. It's not like it's just like a company's policy, it's the US government that's able to regulate geolocation apps in other areas too so that's why they're probably under this blanket ban from anything new to avoid issues.

  • SSSputnik-INGSSSputnik-ING Posts: 109 ✭✭✭

    Personally against any wayspot the average person can never get to.

    If you have to pay, (ticket, boat, plane etc) fine.

    Having to sign up for military service and hoping you get assigned to that base, no.

  • Eneeoh-PGOEneeoh-PGO Posts: 536 ✭✭✭✭

    Your guidelines do not jibe with Niantic’s rules, though.

    Nobody has responded to @CipherBlakk-PGO ’s observation that the onus is totally upon base commanders and personnel to exclude cell-phones or geolocation services from sensitive locations.

    Wayfarers needn’t worry about policy at the level that is being discussed.

  • TrevorAlan-PGOTrevorAlan-PGO Posts: 985 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hell, look at Patrick's website. (and also use street view, a lot of the base is visible from the main road)

  • Jtronmoore-PGOJtronmoore-PGO Posts: 1,581 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2021

    Anyone that is in the military isnt dumb enough to make a submissions inside a restricted/operational areas. What the original post is about is about places that are open to the general public. This includes military member’s families and friends who can be either military or civilian. Many bases in canada have a residential side of the base that everyone is welcome to examples being parks, playstructures, sport fields, fitness centres etc

  • sophielab-INGsophielab-ING Posts: 266 ✭✭✭✭

    For pokemon go, they would need to have the spawns not be blocked as well. It would be inconsistent to say that there are no spawns because the app has determined this a military zone and shouldn't have them and have there should be pokestops and gyms because this is an allowed area that has no military operations.

    I actually think this whole discussion is not really going to solve much because we always get the same message of 1 star anything on base anytime this has been brought up. Players have already figured that anything they get into game is grandfathered and most likely won't be taken out anyways. So, basically, the players asking have nothing to lose. They'll either get permission to add or won't really have a real risk of having it removed because it's difficult to remove things.

  • CipherBlakk-PGOCipherBlakk-PGO Posts: 308 ✭✭✭✭

    Except Niantic hasn't banned bases. They allow some, but not all, due to the criteria that says waypoints simply shouldn't interfere with military operations. It's the same as some, but not all, waypoints at hospitals and some, but not all, waypoints in the vicinity of a fire station or any such thing (ok as long as you don't interfere with emergency services or operations). I can have a waypoint down the road from a fire station and at a hospital's courtyard fountain, just like I can have a waypoint on a mounted airplane display down the road from the flightline at a military base.

    It's not the job of reviewers or Niantic to implement DOD policy. That's up to DOD personnel. Niantic does not need to differentiate between areas that have geolocation banned and areas that don't. That is not their problem. The only thing reviewers ever need to do is apply the same common sense to a military base as to any other installation that provides emergency services or has sensitive operations.

    In essence, a military base is like any other gated community, and it follows the same allowable rules. If you ban bases, you'd have to ban all gated and semi-private locations, to include apartments and multiple-family residences, just because it's not available to the general public off the street. People live there just like anywhere else. Let them play the game.

  • Hosette-INGHosette-ING Posts: 3,303 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Jtronmoore-PGO writes:

    Anyone that is in the military isnt dumb enough to make a submissions inside a restricted/operational areas.

    I'm aware of one wayspot that was on a live firing range on a base... it was the tombstone of someone who was accidentally killed on said range. I'm not sure if it's still there or not but apparently someone in the military was dumb enough to do that. In general it's easy for me to imagine someone in the military dumb enough to want to create a wayspot that only they can get to-- there are LOTS of people in militaries worldwide and it's statistically certain that there are some who lack both intelligence and ethics.

  • CipherBlakk-PGOCipherBlakk-PGO Posts: 308 ✭✭✭✭

    Sure, but that's no different from any other submission in a gated community. It's already going to be somewhere only a few people can get to, and that doesn't make the area in general off-limits. You just go back to the common sense rules reviewers are asked to apply. Things are going to slip through, just like the mural on someone's house someone outside the military was dumb enough to do. Doesn't mean all waypoints in all neighborhoods everywhere are banned.

    Besides that, depending on what kind of firing range that was, it might be open to off duty personnel. It's also not necessarily defined as a real operations area. Could also be an older POI, like hundreds of other POIs currently invalid under the criteria.

    Essentially, you're looking at bases being not significantly different from anywhere else.

  • X0bai-PGOX0bai-PGO Posts: 1,667 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2021

    LOL, yeah the middle of a firing range is a safe place to play AR video games, as long as it’s available to off-duty personnel.

This discussion has been closed.