During a panel for his new movie “Snowden” in the first day of San Diego Comic-Con 2016, the director was asked about the app, and called it “a new level of invasion,” and said it could lead to totalitarianism.
“They are data mining every person in this room,” he said. “It’s what they call surveillance capitalism.”
He also commented that the app could help usher in “a robot society.”Stone is not the first to raise concerns about Pokemon Go and data collection. After the now wildly popular app gained traction, many pointed out that Pokemon Go requires access to a user’s entire Google account on iOS, including location data, email and browsing history.
Niantic, the developer behind Pokemon Go, said it “fixed the Google account scope” in a statement attached to the first patch to the game last week.
“We recently discovered that the Pokémon GO account creation process on iOS erroneously requests full access permission for the user’s Google account,” Niantic said in a statement. “However, Pokémon GO only accesses basic Google profile information (specifically, your User ID and email address) and no other Google account information is or has been accessed or collected.”
Cast members at the panel included Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, showing his patriotism in an American flag t-shirt, Shailene Woodley and Zachary Quinto as Glenn Greenwald.
The movie focuses on “The ultimate conspiracy story,” said Stone.
Quinto added his own thoughts on Pokemon Go, saying to much applause, “People need to pursue what makes them happy, what makes me happy is looking up at people and putting down my screen for at least some part of the day.”
Stone said that in France, which provided financing for the film, “They have a respect for privacy there.” He said studios didn’t want to pick up his film, charging that “self censorship and corporate studio boards blocked funding abilities.” When asked whether the NSA could have disrupted funding of the film, Stone said, “I don’t acknowledge or feel suspicion that they did…I feel the 1984 Big Brother vibe in general in this society…I don’t know and neither do you.”
“The word patriot gets brought up a lot,” says Gordon Levitt, “and I’m sitting next to the most patriotic people in American Cinema.” Gordon Levitt donated a portion of his acting fee to the American Civil Liberties Union.
For Stone, Quinto, Gordon Levitt and Woodley, the film is a call to action. Quinto said, “The people in this room and the people at this convention are the absolute core of the message of this film. This is your world. Get involved and be aware of what’s happening.”
“Snowden” opens September 16.