A few months ago, there was a leak that exposed a cheating ring in Ingress, called The Brokers Guild (see the video below). Among these cheaters were players who were personally picked by Niantic as their trusted players who were ambassadors inside Ingress.
The method that is used is called scraping in Ingress. This method consists of using bots to scrape data from the servers of Niantic, and gather as many data as they can without a consent from Niantic.
Niantic released two other statements which involve the leak. And yesterday, they released a third statement:
Niantic is committed to safety and fair gameplay for Ingress. Over the past several weeks we have worked to identify users, administrators, and creators of tools indicated in recent scraping incidents. As a result, we continue to enforce our Terms of Service in the following ways:
-Terminating the accounts and revoking access to Ingress for the creators, administrators, and financiers of scraping tools storing or serving identifiable information of Ingress users without those users’ permission.
-Banning the accounts of players using these scraping tools who have also received prior warnings or have documented TOS violations.
-Temporarily suspending (for 30 days) the accounts of players using these tools, followed by 180 days of account probation.
Using data, systems, or tools designed to negatively impact the player community through extracting, scraping, or indexing Ingress data in violation of our Terms of Service is prohibited. We will continue to take appropriate action against violators of our TOS as supporting evidence arises or as found by our own investigation. We would also like to see the community promote positive and constructive actions as we work together and move forward. Remember that which unites us as Ingress Agents is far greater than that which divides us as Agents of a faction.”
Ingress is a separate game from Pokemon Go. The Ingress players go beyond anything we have ever witnessed happen in Pokemon Go.
The new statement they released has a lot of new information about how Niantic took action and is taking against this, but we think that this needs a further discussion and analysis.
However, from my point of view, Niantic is always taking action against cheaters/spoofers, which is great, but unfortunately, their success in blocking these in Pokemon Go is not complete, and spoofing is still a real issue in the game. Will Niantic do something about it? Can we do something to protect our game against this type of abuse?
For the sake of fair gameplay, play safe, play fair and just try to have fun without cheating.