Any measures to protect wayfarer participants from Chinese policy?

1GiraffeToman-PGO1GiraffeToman-PGO Posts: 54 ✭✭✭
edited November 2022 in December AMA - 2022

Background: This is a long question because it required some background information. So in 1992 the Chinese government launched an ordinary law named “Surveying and Mapping Law of the People's Republic of China」 (中华人民共华国测绘法), with expressly stipulated that mapping about China without authorisation is illegal. For example, a few years ago, a British geoscience student was arrested for drawing the geo-layer of China.

participants: while Google service and most of the Niantic apps are not available in China, there is still a huge ingress community in mainland China using VON to play the game, and they contribute sooooooooo much in wayfarer by mapping their country. Moreover, wayfinders in special territory like Hong Kong and Macau, or even surrounding countries like Taiwan, are deployed to review nomination in China frequently.

Concern: so we all know the meaning of taking part in wayfarer is mapping the world with Niantic (that’s what I heard from Lightship presentation on YouTube). Despite Niantic is an US company, the community engaged in wayfarer may be considered for being illegal in China.

Question: when Wayfinders in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan or even people who traveled to these places doing reviews, they have a high possibility for getting Chinese nominations on their wayfarer page. Are there any measures from Niantic to protect them from being arrested by the mainland Chinese government? (Like getting feedback from the legal team, temporary disable nominations from China getting in voting, suspend reviewers in mainland China using wayfarer to protect their personal safety)

Post edited by 1GiraffeToman-PGO on


  • MargariteDVille-INGMargariteDVille-ING Posts: 2,728 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Was Wayfarer turned off in Russia, when Niantic turned off PokeMonGo and Ingress there? I think they did, which means it's possible.

    I don't know if Niantic has thought beyond enabling store purchases. Companies can't do financial transactions with (get money out) Russia, but they can with China.

    Interesting question.

  • tp235-INGtp235-ING Posts: 1,351 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Indeed this is unfortunate and a story that takes away people's freedom.

    There is also talk of blocking access to open street maps from within the PRC, which may be linked to this movement.

    We will have to keep this topic in mind in the future.

  • Also about China, when we review Chinese nominations outside China, the street map would be incorrectly placed and nothing close to the satellite image.

    how should reviewers assess the accuracy of location? Road map and hybrid which one should we base on?

  • Entroponaut-PGOEntroponaut-PGO Posts: 20 ✭✭✭

    Being arrested for playing ingress and wayfarer is not something that I haven't imagined, but I personally am fine with the legal risk and would not appreciate any forced "protection" from Niantic.

  • Entroponaut-PGOEntroponaut-PGO Posts: 20 ✭✭✭

    Google satellite remains accurate. And I am using a script that adds shortcuts to Chinese mainland map providers where one can check streetviews.

  • EvieEvolved-INGEvieEvolved-ING Posts: 49 ✭✭✭

    …when you say China, I assume you’re referring to the mainland People’s Republic of China (PRC), not the Republic of China (ROC)?

    If the PRC thinks Niantic is incentivizing illegal behavior it has many options to discourage that. That being said, Niantic isn’t encouraging anyone to map critical infrastructure, secure borders, or military bases, so i don’t know why the PRC would single out Niantic Wayfarer.

    Generally, Western companies don’t voluntarily restrict the individual freedoms of adult PRC users in order to protect those users from their own government. It’s considered the PRC’s responsibility to censor their own adult citizens from content that is freely available in Western countries... If you’d like Niantic to add a PRC-specific warning to Wayfarer users in that country, like the ‘don’t play while driving’ warnings, maybe that would be possible?

    sorry you have to think about this. I would certainly get into legal trouble if I tried to take photos and submit a waypoint at a highly restricted location like a nuclear base in the USA. But uh, in the USA it wouldn’t be Niantic’s legal responsibility to keep me from breaking into a nuclear base by pre-emptively blocking Wayfarer from my phone. It would be my sole legal responsibility if I tried to submit a nuke as a wayspot, since Niantic doesn’t encourage submitting waypoints in restricted military areas.

  • You should read the first paragraph again. The PRC is using inclusion rule, they don’t exclude any company, they allow certain companies and people to map

  • TheKingEngine-INGTheKingEngine-ING Posts: 345 ✭✭✭
    edited December 2022

    No. Save your efforts trying to kick Chinese players out.

    According to Surveying and Mapping Law of the People's Republic of China (2017 Revision) [Effective]

    For the purpose of this Law, “surveying and mapping” mean the activities conducted to determine, collect and present the key elements of physical geography or the shapes, sizes, space positions, and attributes, etc., of man-made surface installations, as well as the processing and provision of data, information and achievements obtained.

    Plain portal submission for Wayfarer is not applicable to this law because NORMAL players are not doing things like "determine, collect and present the key elements of physical geography or the shapes, sizes, space positions, and attributes, etc., of man-made surface installations".

    It's not you who defines "surveying and mapping".

  • TheKingEngine-INGTheKingEngine-ING Posts: 345 ✭✭✭

    Well said.

    This whole article is simply trying to, in the hypocritical name of protecting players, kick Chinese players out of Wayfarer system completely by claiming that ALL Chinese players are doing illegal things by participating in Wayfarer platform. This is not true.

    Never heard that Wayfarer portal submitters are for example collecting SPACE positions of the key elements of physical geography.

  • TheKingEngine-INGTheKingEngine-ING Posts: 345 ✭✭✭
    edited December 2022

    If players are not literally doing spying, they will not be arrested. Wayfarer portal submission is not illegal. It's just the same as marking tourist destinations on Tripadvisor or Yelp. Ever heard any normal person being arrested for doing so? NO!

    This post is simply an updated "For whatever reasons get those Chinese nominations away in Wayfarer" propaganda that we would see annually like . This time they even want to kick Chinese players out completely. Not surprised.

  • TheKingEngine-INGTheKingEngine-ING Posts: 345 ✭✭✭

    It's more insteresting to see political discussion in Wayfarer forum especially AMA board when things political are not welcomed by the community guideline. Could you please try to hide your anti-China intention? Niantic currently cannot do financial transactions with Russia because the United States imposed sanctions. However currently Chinese players or China as a country did nothing wrong for you to ask for such treatment when no sanctions have been imposed.

  • WheelTrekker-INGWheelTrekker-ING Posts: 3,360 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Sorry, but isn't

    NORMAL players are not doing things like "determine, collect and present the key elements of physical geography or the shapes, sizes, space positions, and attributes, etc., of man-made surface installations".

    the basic definition of Wayfarer and Lightship?

    Lightship is a database of the name, pictures, location of man-made objects. Scanning provides full details about their shapes. So if the Chinese government would have any issue about people or companies collecting that data, it seems to me that Niantic should get a permission to do so.

  • TheKingEngine-INGTheKingEngine-ING Posts: 345 ✭✭✭

    Sorry but I have to point out, if players simply submitting portals to Wayfarer system "are doing illegal things". Then tourists who sent geotagged photos taken in China to TripAdvisor or even are also doing illegal things. Doesn't it sound ridiculous?

    Firstly, "the shapes, sizes, space positions" as emphasized by law is obviously different from "the name, pictures, location" that is not space location but earth based plane coordinates.

    Secondly, according to your expound, it's a most the Niantic who is probably violating the law. Not players. Thus the "protecting players by kicking them out" propaganda is not applicable.

  • WheelTrekker-INGWheelTrekker-ING Posts: 3,360 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Many laws might seem ridiculous. In every country.

    Even many rules by Niantic with regards to Wayfarer seem ridiculous like the sudden change that now basketball courts are valid in K12 premises.

    I don't know anything about Chinese and how that law is originally written, but for me the location and space position mean the same. And the shape and size can be extracted from something like a wayspot scan, specially when there are many scans of the same object.

    According to what you've written, the problem isn't for outside players reviewing those nominations, the ones that might have broken the law are the ones that sent the nominations (and scans), as well as Niantic for storing them.

    That doesn't mean at all that this is an attempt to kick Chinese players out of the games, or maybe it is, I don't know, but it isn't requesting the removal of wayspots in China or forbid playing there, so it doesn't seem that this would affect the games.

  • TheKingEngine-INGTheKingEngine-ING Posts: 345 ✭✭✭

    And the shape and size can be extracted from something like a wayspot scan, specially when there are many scans of the same object.

    You are right. That's why when I'm in China I do almost 0 portal scannings and just abandon this functionality. Players have to obey the local law. Portal scans can be seen as some sort of "surveying". I personally would never send 3D model data containing depth information to Niantic.

    I can't vouch for other players but at least the local law in China does not forbid things like traditional portal submission with plain photos by its latest definition as long as not relevant to important spots or key elements of physical geography.

    Anyway you've already noticed that the claim made in the main thread of this post, that is the "All Wayfarer participants in China are violating the law" so that they should be worrying about "being arrested" is (partially) wrong and misleading. Regarding surveying and mapping, the police in China would arrest only spys or someone paid to do it. It's not a country that would arrest tourists sending geotagged info to Tripadvisor and do some tagging, the same as Wayfarer users. Otherwise tourists would be warned in advance by their own government before making the journey.

  • MetLee-INGMetLee-ING Posts: 4 ✭✭
    edited December 2022

    You are a RA**ST.

    Someone like you with hatred of Chinese offen use such ridiculous pretext—"I am attempting to protect you Chinese"—indeed they want to deprive our basic human right to entertainment.

    We insist on our right to freedom of access to Wayfarer and DO NOT need your hypocritical concern.

    Will the government arrest the Wayfarer user? WRONG.

    If you google "Mission Day Fuzhou", a MD event cooperating with Chinese government, lots of player-written blogs will appear. The government knew Ingress and supported it. The participants also didn't be arrested.

  • TheKingEngine-INGTheKingEngine-ING Posts: 345 ✭✭✭

    Well said. Only spys will be arrested. It's strange and funny to see how they are trying to depict an illusive image of "All Wayfarer users in China are doing illegal surveying and mapping" and "Players in China would easily be arrested so we need to protect them". It's already inaccurate and become more ra**st when the solution suggested is somehow "removing all Chinese players and nominations in Wayfarer system". It sounds like "ban the game in Ukraine to protect players". Similar arrogant tone here.

    Players of course would be questioned, if appearing somewhere strange, which is a normal procedure but has nothing to do with direct "arrest". Replies above has stated that if anybody breaking into nuclear base in the USA he would be arrested. I can say that if trying to approach US military base he would be detained as well. It's a common knowledge that it's not allowed to survey and map something sensitive or important for national security, no matter how the law is written in respective country.

  • TheKingEngine-INGTheKingEngine-ING Posts: 345 ✭✭✭

    By the way, when trying to misguiding other readers, OP has said:

    For example, a few years ago, a British geoscience student was arrested for drawing the geo-layer of China.

    I'm not here defending anything or any government or any law. But I still has to point out that OP's word is made intentionally misleading.

    It's not a few years ago. It's in 2009. It's not one British student. It's three. Read the news on several websites (which are already generally not in favor of China) and you would notice that those 3 students were really doing data-collecting activities in areas that they are not authroized to go to. I don't want to comment on this incident but we can see clearly that it's a completely different thing from players' involving in Wayfarer.

    Those 3 students were arrested? No! They were investigated for several hours, fined and then released. If you do the same things in USA or UK or AU in unauthorized way, you would be caught and fined as well. You might receive even more severe punishment or even be sentenced to prison.

    In Wayfarer activities, you would NOT come up with professional equipment, including independent GPS devices, survey results, and data like that. You will NOT bring yourself to sensitive areas previous launching unlawful religious activities like that. You will NOT gather "illegal data" from 6,000 points which was valuable for mineral prospecting and topographical research like that.

    All normal players would do is taking screenshots of some Sculpture of art so that you could interact them to catch Pokemon or link fields that is meaningless to the real world. Here is the question: why is OP talking like players in China are doing the same riskful and potentially illegal activities as that incident and have to worry about being arrested all day long? Is that the same concept or NOT? Isn't this post actually an anti-China propaganda?

  • TheKingEngine-INGTheKingEngine-ING Posts: 345 ✭✭✭
    edited December 2022

    Also, there is no "中华人民共华国" as you said. There is only 中华人民共和国 in simplified Chinese or 中華人民共和國 in traditional Chinese, as you are sometimes talking in traditional Chinese. Frankly speaking people seldom makes this typo.

    If you would like to convey information and messages to other readers, please do it in the proper way. If talking about for example the United States of America, people won't naturally say something like "United Stonks of America" as well.

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