Two weeks ago, my Ingress account was terminated for unknown reasons. The e-mail notification stated that I falsified my location (or that I have been "using emulators, modified or unofficial software and/or accessing Ingress clients or backends in an unauthorized manner"), allegations that I completely deny (except for IITC, but that I have not been using for quite some time…).
I always played Ingress on location with the official clients, on devices that were nor jailbreaked, nor rooted.
Some people joked on the fact I travel too much. Well, if only…

Ingress players know how unfair the appeal process can be, because you all know players, friends, who were victims of automated scripts. They have been ignored by an Ops team that never explains what triggered those bans, and closes tickets almost immediately.
I have been asked for years if I could provide any pass-through/special treatment, which I could not. Being an official photographer on some Niantic events does not mean that I work at Niantic. I could only observe former players being banned without any valid explanation.
The fact it is now happening to me proves that I don't have any preferential treatment. Even if I immediately contacted people in the marketing team, the Ops team has remained silent for 2 weeks.
From previous cases, I know that petitions are useless and commenting on official Ingress/Niantic posts does not work. I did not and I will not ask you to do so. All of the movements demanding to "free" some agent never resulted in anything ; except growing over the year even the most loyal players' frustration.

The circumstances during which I got the termination notification are quite clear. But why the termination occurred is a question that remain without answer.
The Magnus Builder challenge had just started and I couldn't afford to play the whole weekend of May 6-7th. I had indeed been commissioned to cover the French Elections. My schedule was quite full, I also had a commercial shooting and a wedding banquet. I could only deploy some resonators while commuting and moving from a venue to an other.
On Sunday 7th, I had just exited the Parisian metro when I fully deployed 2 portals in Paris Belleville area. I glyph-hacked and deployed mods on one of the portals. But as the game was not answering on the second portal, I decided to kill the game and to re-launch it. This is when I got the termination e-mail.
There aren't many other plausible explanations to the "falsified location" claim. Believing I might have been incorrectly located in the seconds after I left an underground tunnel, I immediately sent my screenshot to trusted Niantic employees I knew.

I am usually very patient. But in the previous months, I already considered quitting Niantic games or to stop working for them.
My payments were delayed by several months, only to be told that I had to translate my invoices, something that I was not requested until last year.
I was lied to in Tokyo when fees were negotiated because there was already a photographer and that I would be an additional expense on a small budget. But I actually worked as a main photographer on the biggest Ingress event so far (jetlagged and sleep-deprived).
There, I got contradictory instructions by several Niantic employees and got blamed for not being at several places at the same time. The other supposedly-main photographer could have done some of them, but he was hired for a shorter amount of time – so he was not on-location yet – and even then he had no idea how to cover an anomaly.
I was lied to when I was told that I could take my time to deliver the pictures but was actually urged the next days to process and upload all of them asap, wasting most of my planned-sightseeing time in Tokyo and Kyoto.
When told that I should not post anything because the photos in Japan were shot only for "marketing purposes", I had to defend the right of players to access their pictures, players who trusted me when they posed.
In October, I felt betrayed when I was told that I would have a contractor status, prepared a huge amount of paperwork ; only to find my credentials blocked, and to be told indirectly it would not happen. Those who were in Rome last November, and saw me, wondered why I was not the official photographer. Here is your answer: my status at that time was unknown.
It wasn't until one month later that I got a wobbly explanation. Yes, I would have preferred a frank explanation, such as an hypothetical "we have not planned big events in the next months, and we do not require your services".
I won't even detail all those times when my pictures were misattributed or when Niantic infringed my author rights on pictures that they did not commission.

So yes, I wanted to quit, but I was convinced by several of you who knew my situation that I should continue playing, and see how Niantic evolves. I attended a few events, Mission Days lately.
But my unexplained account termination shows that Niantic is malfunctioning.
After 2 weeks waiting in silence, I could joke saying that Niantic is not leaving me the opportunity to get the Magnus Builder medal. But I am tired enduring all of those bad experiences. One straw too many…

I was a passionate player, who joined Ingress because a friend at Google London – who knew my interest in geolocation techs – told me in 2012 that a new game was going to be launched.
Beyond the opportunity to beta-test geolocated games, I met extraordinary players.
I had incredible memories during the last four and a half years. And this is thanks to passionate players who have been able to gather cohesive communities. When we travelled, my fellow companions and I were always welcome and we got help when in need. I tried to return that help in my hometown, as I am part of a visitors chat.
It started even before I worked with Niantic as a photographer: I remember that first time when I played abroad in 2013, that was in Rome, I joined a farm at Piazza di Spagna and followed the group to Piazza Venezia, where I shared a dinner with the locals. I am still friends with most of them, several years later.
The fact the company has been consistently ignoring your petitions, your voices, that they ignored feature requests ; the facts they implemented mechanics that reduced the social aspects in Ingress, that those social aspects are missing from Pokémon GO ; the fact that they ignored entire areas for their competitive events despite your petitions ; etc: I think Niantic is underestimating the importance of communities in their games. And I can only hope that they will have more consideration for you.

The future of Niantic, unless they really change, will be without me.
My decision is final. I am leaving you for now, agents: dear friends.
We will remain friends, and I hope to meet you during my next travels.

Former agent/trainer NCC1701R.
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