From The Verge:
When Boon Sheridan decided to convert an old church into his new home, he didn’t think he would end up fending off dozens of would-be pokémon trainers. But that’s exactly what happened when Niantic, the augmented reality gaming company behind Pokémon Go, marked Sheridan’s home as a “gym” — one of the game’s hubs for training and battles, usually located at noteworthy buildings or landmarks. “Can’t wait to talk to my neighbors about it,” he wrote on Twitter, noting that the church had been decommissioned decades ago. “So, all these people pulling up at all hours? We don’t know them… and we can’t stop it.”
Sheridan’s case is a perfect example of how digital overlays are increasingly affecting our physical spaces. There’s something invasive-feeling about a company that was once owned by Google casually directing its millions of users to go knock on someone’s door, even if only a small set of them will ever make it there. And Pokémon Go isn’t the first location-based service to cause real-world annoyance. Traffic app Waze has irked homeowners who find their once-quiet streets crowded with drivers, for example, and an IP mapping glitch once turned a Kansas farmhouse into ground zero for angry internet users.
And unsurprisingly, nobody is sure how the law should handle it.
“This is a kind of a novel problem,” says Ryan Calo, who teaches cyber and privacy law at the University of Washington’s school of law. Usually, a digital platform isn’t responsible for what its users do — whether it’s something as mild as posting inflammatory comments on a message board or as extreme as following an explosives recipe on a website. Neither is a game. But Pokémon Go isn’t just offering information, it’s actively creating a system that encourages people to …