Pokémon Go

Congressman Demands Pokémon Go Makers Tell Him What They Do About Data Usage

No role for Congress.



Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), sounds like he doesn't know how a smartphone works or what the role of Congress is.

The ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee fired off a letter along with two Democratic colleagues demanding Pokémon Go explain what it does about how much data its users use playing the game.

"We are writing to better understand what measures Niantic has undertaken to ensure consumers are informed of Pokémon Go's effect on their mobile data usage," the letter begins, continuing by explaining that the app had been downloaded 7.5 million times in its first week out and earned "an estimated $2.3 million day on the iOS and Android platforms. The reference to revenue is totally gratuitous and unrelated to anything else Pallone brings up. He does not mention that Pokémon Go is a free app or that he has no business getting involved with Pokémon Go and data usage in the first place.

Amazingly, while trying to whip up fears over Pokémon Go and data usage, Pallone cites a Wall Street Journal article titled "Relax, Pokémon Go Isn't Eating Your Data Plan," which reports that according to Verizon the app takes up less than 1 percent of its total data traffic. Pokémon Go, like any sophisticated app, can drain battery life, but it does have a setting for "battery saver." Battery usage is a problem for many smartphone users and one smartphone makers have long been working to improve. Like data usage, battery usage isn't any of Pallone's business either.

It's up to individuals how much they want to consider their data usage when playing Pokémon Go. Most smartphones allow you to check data usage by app—I've used about 300MB of data on Pokémon Go in the last two weeks, hardly my most data-taxing app—and there are even apps to help monitor data usage instead.

But Pallone could relax even if that weren't the case, because issues like data usage on Pokemon Go are outside the purview of Congress. It's notable too that the concept of net neutrality, which Pallone and Democrats tend to support, make it harder for service providers and app operators to minimize the cost of data usage because "net neutrality" doesn't permit treating data spent on Pokémon Go to be treated differently than data used on any other program or internet service. If Pallone is interested in contributing, he could work to roll back net neutrality controls.

Frank Pallone ends with four questions he asks Niantic to answer, none of which it should feel compelled to answer and none of which are intelligent enough to be worth asking. He wants to know whether there are "best practices" Niantic follows to minimize how much data is used (their code is none of Pallone or the government's business), whether it works with carriers to "ensure that consumers are not unexpectedly hit with large overage charges," (this is non-sensical as other apps use even more data), whether it warns consumers about data usage (again, nonsensical given that Pallone has overblown the data impact), and most incredibly, whether it had "any mechanisms in place to make sure consumers are made whole in the event they are hit with an unexpected overage charge resulting from the use of your app." Why would anyone but the user of a phone be responsible for the data they use?

I wouldn't even say Congress has more important things to concern itself about. Even if Congress didn't have anything to concern itself with—no self-created foreign policy, fiscal and other messes to get itself out of—Pokémon Go would still not be something that's appropriate for Congress to concern itself with.

If Frank Pallone has concerns about Pokémon Go, he should free to quit his job in Congress and work on developing an augmented-reality game he thinks is superior. Otherwise he should shut up and not use the pulpit of political office to bully a company that did develop an augmented-reality game it and millions of users enjoy.

Thankfully it's still possible to ignore politicians.

NEXT: (UPDATE: Now With Video) Flag Burning Outside RNC Turns into Chaotic Melee Between Police and Protesters

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  1. He could ask what NSA is doing with our data.

    1. Oh, come now. That’s *different*.

  2. sounds like he doesn’t know….what the role of Congress is.

    This implies that anyone cares about the Constitution anymore…

    1. 75% of the first four comments are by way of Canadians.

      I guess it’s true Americans are lazy.

      1. We prefer the term “complacent.”

        1. I’m just a slow reader.


      2. Canadians are just 300% more likely to comment without reading the article.

      3. What else do they have to do while doing all that waiting for free healthcare?

      4. What else do they have to do while doing all that waiting for free healthcare?

    2. I was busy doing your mom? No, wait. Uh…Zap Rowsdower? No. Um…hockey sucks!

      Yeah. Going with that.

      1. That movie almost killed me, but I suppose that was the point 😛

  3. I live in NJ and can vouch for the abject stupidity of the elected officials here. Plenty of “you can’t make this shit up” videos of them on YouTube.

  4. The U.S. doesn’t need more official or unofficial consumer protection bureaus. There are more than enough. Fuck off and do something about that fucking $19T public debt instead of eating boogers and spinning around in your chair, Congressman.

  5. “We are writing to better understand what measures Niantic has undertaken to ensure consumers are informed of Pok?mon Go’s effect on their mobile data usage,”

    Which I’m sure he’s asked about every other massively successful app that requires data transmission.

    1) Make sure you’re on WiFi when using data.
    2) If your child isn’t old enough to understand (1), they shouldn’t have a smartphone.

  6. He’s got the technical sophistication of Senator Al Franken and the legislative restraint of Senator Chuck Schumer. Perhaps we have finally found our perfect politician.

    1. Sneer quotes on that, please.

      Also, don’t give ’em any ideas

  7. New Jersey is a nest for dumb fucks rising on the American political ether which is rich with starched shirts topped with shit skins popping with rolling eyes.

    1. Cool. I must visit.

      1. The quiet moon peeped above the golden mists and I feel bad for maligning every single creature in the NJ.

        The nest of NJ is odd and askance and often misery producing- but I do believe this mass of bobble headed ocean edge tripping old siding understanding mob relatives have a measure of lively plastered back yard picnicking fantasies of occasional wave resounding ghostly voice emanating relaxation parallel universe existing similar yesterdays…

        1. I always love your posts, AC, but are you channeling Joyce today?

  8. Liberty loves its angels and cliff divers.
    Let our arguments and disparaging comments of our
    positions always
    be tempered with a silent nod of love
    because all of us are different and beautiful.
    As much as our lines tangle and mingle like lightning
    let us always seek the premiere reach of times… liberty

  9. I wish I could push love through these buttons…
    love for even those I do not understand.
    you know we press letters on another world that might not be real, boys and sweeties?
    press, click, punch…
    talking through fingers
    poems of the angst and little fire eating dragons
    slip into the hollows of our presses.

    1. So does that mean you know where Charizard is?

      1. Brimstone shafts slung from the creaking basement of the old pirate ship of glory under the third deck in the locked chest of a gaze narrowing Swiss…. this. thing. of swaggering binaries might be found there, Ak.

  10. Wouldn’t complain if Pam Bondi wanted to abuse her prosecutorial discretion with me.

    Srs question: at what point did the mass migration of beautiful blondes to the GOP begin?

    1. at what point did the mass migration of beautiful blondes to the GOP begin?

      I don’t know, but I just wanted to say Dana Perino.

  11. Is this the beginning of the rot that is inevitable with the internet coming under FCC control? How long before politicians are sticking their noses in a thousand places they don’t belong and turn the internet into a bleak, boring wasteland?

    1. The earth, love, has rotted a bunch of goddamn bleak wasteland future rivers that resulted in us and this place.

      Betcha the train of the future will mow down the necks of a stack of society killers while avoiding those hiding in the knolls of alleys filled with the energy ninjas of ever greater futures.

      The FCC can control as much as old tyrannies, Suthen.

    2. They’ve always been sticking their noses in a thousand places they don’t belong.

  12. Col. Eileen Collins up now

    1. Non-political speech on the Apollo 11 Anniversary ends with:


      1. If she was a bottle I’d drink her like a case of democrats spreading knees and butts to hoary deacons.

        1. The aftertaste, bro. CK One and shame.

  13. My guess is that some loudmouth constituent has a teenager who rang up a big data bill.

    1. ^shorter version of my same point. pretending congresspeople are “stupid” isn’t being nearly cynical enough. politicians are constantly trying to look busy. they have to do *something*, right?

      *(I wish they didn’t, but they do)

  14. Ooh, look, historians against Trump.

    You can tell it’s rigorous because it has a photo of Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First rally.

    1. “Historians Against Trump does not align itself with any political party or candidate.”

  15. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), sounds like he doesn’t know how a smartphone works or what the role of Congress is

    I think the more accurate-reality is, “Journalists Don’t Realize How Little Congresspeople Give a Shit How It Looks to Smart-Kid-Media When Pandering To Certain Constituent Groups”

    I can imagine the guy sitting in his office laughing at stories like this;

    its not that “he doesn’t get it”. Its that Ed and his journalist ilk don’t understand “Dumbass Moms In Middletown New Jersey” the way Frank does.

    Frank got phone calls from parents worried that their kids were going to run up $1000bills playing Pokemon. Frank knows how to get on top of shit like this. He puts out press release saying, “IMMA DO SOME SHIT ABOUT THAT”. Moms relieved. Dads are glad that mom isn’t bitching. Frank’s congressional seat gets cushier.

  16. Do you want a do-nothing Congress, Ed? Would you be happy with a do-nothing Congress?

  17. Have you ever met Frank Pallone? The man is dumber than a block of wood.

  18. Futuristic times thrive in dreams melting in the coffins of the dead.

    How to escape the claws of ancient earth while running from the goddamn naivety of present youth….

    Love freely, fuck freely, break all chains, remain vigilant and angry against the all to common dictatorships ready to inhabit the villages, cities, and countries of your existence.

  19. Augmented reality you say? Y’know, I still haven’t seen the AR function actually work. Why, you ask? Because my phone’s camera is basically useless at night. What do you mean “why does that matter”? Obviously, the game won’t run during the day. Try as I have, I’ve never been able to run it during daylight hours.

    1. AC can give you some pointers about augmented reality.

    2. The AR function is better turned off. You can throw pokeballs wide trying to catch them on shaky cam, or you can turn the thing off and catch them smooth and easy.

      1. Or, you can stop being a pussy and GIT GUD.

  20. Freedom is the greatest earth cause since life. ALL causes pale when edged next to freedom under the lights of pure goddamn Bertrand.

    Free humanity and the earth thrives. Free humanity and governments digress. Free humanity and corporations fall into line. Free humanity and the earth itself becomes the greatest star ship.

    Free humanity and philosophy, humanity, and business thrives into the great space escape.

    Free humans, governments. Free humans. Fuck your laws. Free humans. Release earthwide the drugheads, the nonviolent, the debt-ridden, the poor, the basic infringers, the simple law breaker and thousands upon thousands go home to families…. to little boys and girls.

    Free humans, governments.

  21. There may soon be more Pokemon species than people on the planet


  22. New Jersey is a nest for dumb fucks rising on the American political ether which is rich with starched shirts topped with shit skins popping with rolling eyes.
    pokemon go astuce
    pokemon go hack

  23. He has the specialized refinement of Senator Al Franken and the authoritative limitation of Senator Chuck Schumer. Maybe we have at long last discovered our ideal government official.

  24. We can even create playlists of them so it will be very easy to find our videos which we like. We can also download those videos and can watch them offline. Showbox for pc

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