'Idea that interfering with Pokemon Go could change US presidential vote result is hilarious’
The augmented-reality game Pokemon Go has been linked to Russia's alleged meddling into the US elections, according to a CNN investigation.
It is claimed a supposedly Russian-linked online group called 'Don't Shoot Us' used the game to intensify racial tension among Americans. The report alleges the site encouraged people involved in the Black Lives Matter movement to play Pokemon Go in places where police brutality incidents had occurred.
RT: CNN claims it has proof of Russia's meddling in American politics again, this time through the reality game Pokemon Go. Is there any limit to Russian meddling?
Ted Rall: The purported link between Russia and the Pokemon Go project is tenuous at best. There is really no evidence whatsoever that ties this alleged Russian group to this Pokemon Go project… There are kind of two hilarious things about it. One is the idea that this would be something that would necessarily be wrong. After all, this was a project that drew attention to genuine incidents of police brutality and shooting of people of color by white American police officers. No one is alleging that anything fake took place here. This is not so-called fake news. The other idea that interfering with Pokemon Go could have changed the outcome of a major presidential election is hilarious. At this point, you have to look at the Russiagate controversy. If I were paying the people who are coming up with these stories, I would be pretty upset, I’d say “you guys really need to do better than this.” Nobody is going to care or buy any of these.
RT: The investigation claims this was a plot to whip up racial tension in the US by encouraging people to play Pokemon in places where police brutality incidents happened. But how exactly would that incite racial conflict?
TR: Racial conflict is already here. Racial conflict is, unfortunately, part of the fabric of American society and politics. It is part of the political system. Racial tension doesn’t come from people pointing to racial tension – racial tension comes from the actual oppression of minorities by the state and by its actors. The argument here that the media seems to be making – at least in some sectors of the American media is that if a cop shoots a black person and nobody reports it, notices it, or protests it, then it doesn’t matter. It only becomes a major issue if someone reports it. That is obviously not true. The fact is that when white officers shoot black people, it makes a lot of people upset - their friends, their families, their community – anybody who cares about racial justice. Just merely pointing the finger at this – raising racial tensions – is wrong. What it would be doing is merely drawing attention to preexisting racial tensions.
RT: Facebook,Twitter, YouTube...now Pokemon Go. Is cybersecurity in the US so poor that nothing is safe from the Kremlin's reach?
TR:…The best I can go with here is the theory, it is a subversive attempt to use a seemingly innocuous video game on telephones that kids and adults enjoy, to draw them into the fraud world of the racial divide between white cops and black shooting victims and that would inflame racial tensions.. I don’t think that is a very credible theory, but that seems to be that.
...Obviously security in American tech companies does leave a lot to be desired. As anybody who recently had their credit reports stolen by hackers who got into Equifax, or previously companies like Target. There is no question that security is a weak thing. I think the Russiagate narrative that is really interesting to me is that even by the accounts of those who are promoting this theory on MSNBC, CNN and other networks the scale of it is so minute that even if every word were true, and that is extremely doubtful, it is hard to believe that it could have had any significant impact whatsoever. This was an election, which had a spending of $3 billion between the two major parties – the Democrats and the Republicans. The allegations of $10,000 here, $100 on Facebook being spent - it is a drop in the bucket, it is like putting a cup of water into the Atlantic Ocean and thinking it is going to change the sea level. It couldn’t have had any effect. I think anybody who listens to the story would know that which is why it is kind of on its face so absurd.