The Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood has launched a petition asking Pokémon Go developer Niantic not to deliver personalized ads to kids based on the data they collect in the augmented reality game sweeping the nation and the globe or "lure" them through commercial sponsorships.
The group says children should not be led to PokeStops at retail stores or fast-food outlets. The game features PokeStops and gyms at locations in the real world where virtual Pokémon are collected and trained for battle.
Many of the stops are at historic places but others are paid sponsorships.
“No child should be lured to McDonald’s or any other sponsor’s establishment while playing Pokémon GO,” said Josh Golin, executive director of CCFC. “If Niantic wants to cash in on the game’s enormous popularity by herding players to its sponsors’ locations, it should exclude children from this type of marketing.”
The petition, launched Monday, is directed at Niantic CEO John Hanke and calls on him to "institute protections for young people playing Pokémon Go. Niantic should not send children under 13 to sponsored PokeStops or Pokémon Gyms, or use any information about a child’s location or gameplay to deliver targeted advertisements to them. No game played by children should lure them to visit a junk food restaurant or any other commercial establishment."
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), a longtime online privacy advocate, has sought information from Niantic on how it uses the information it collects from children and other users.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.