I recently stumbled across this post from a Kansas law enforcement lobbyist, originally posted in January 2014. It purports to describe “a number” of 911 calls in Park City about “suspicious persons” who turned out to be playing the augmented reality game Ingress. The article also cites one of my blog posts as an example of what “can go wrong” when Ingress players cross paths with police, and suggests that readers Google the phrase “ingress police calls” to find more.
It’s fascinating to see discussion of this issue spread. One can only imagine how much more commonplace it will become as AR games get more popular. I’ve reproduced the entire post below.
Ingress Game Impacting Kansas Law Enforcement (Posted 1/25/14)
Information compliments of Chief Phil Bostian, Park City PD
The Park City Police Department has had a number of 911 suspicious character calls, and upon further investigation, the “suspect(s)” were actually in the process of playing a new smart-phone “augmented-reality” game called “Ingress”. Information on the game can be found here:
This game is rapidly becoming more popular. Part of this game involves actually going to a physical location, and then “tagging/ marking/ closing/ taking over” that location. With the success of this game, it is likely that similar games will be created in the future.
Google publishes a guide for the Ingress game, called: “CONTACT WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT: Tips on what to do during contact with a law enforcement officer while playing Ingress“, found here:
One recent confirmed experience with this game occurred at a church in Park City. A vehicle occupied by two people had been sitting in the parking lot for quite some time, but for no apparent reason. This occurred again the following day, and when church employees called 911 about “suspicious characters”, officers stopped the vehicle and found the occupants had been playing “Ingress”.
Here is a media report with one example of how this game can go wrong: http://www.wassom.com/augmented-reality-gamer-detained-by-police.html . A simple Google search of “ingress police calls” reveals a lot of media reports, blogs and videos showing that this is a developing problem for police.
It is very likely that this game will generate even more 911 calls as it becomes more popular.