Just like most other ways that Pokemon GO has made headlines in the past month or so since its launch, something inevitable and rather unsurprising has happened, only this time, it's something that's quite welcome. If you've walked up on a gym only to find a Gyarados with over 5,000CP guarding it along with two others like it, you're not alone. Cheating runs rampant in the game, with bots and GPS spoofing apps being quite commonplace. In the past, when a cheater was caught, the world of Pokemon GO temporarily refused to interact with them, a state known as softban. Now, it would seem that Niantic is cutting accounts and taking names.
Adhering to the game's terms of service was always best practice with Pokemon GO, but now it seems that not doing so can summon the wrath of the permanent banhammer upon your account. All indications have pointed to Niantic banning people by both IP address and account, but the softbans of the past are now no longer the only solution cheaters face. As well as being unable to simply make a new account and bot it up while the old one is serving its ban time, cheaters will find that the account that was banned will be permanently unable to access the service. While this is a welcome change for those who are tired of cheaters getting the best of them, accidents do happen; if you believe you have been banned in error, Niantic does offer an option to appeal your ban, which you'll find through the source link.
The Pokemon GO Dev community on Reddit is currently all wrapped up in trying to figure out how Niantic detects bannable behavior, as well as what constitutes such, and how it's determined who should be permanently banned and who will have to just sit it out for a few hours or days. The terms of service indicate that players should only access the Pokemon GO servers through the app and not any third party services, so the community at large is urging and being urged away from mapping services, team optimization tools and the like, at least until this is all worked out. For the moment, even the players who find it hard to play the game as it's meant to be played, like those in very rural areas or those who are homebound, bedridden, or wheelchair-bound, will simply have to abide by the terms of service to a T, or face the possibility of a close encounter of the permanent kind with the banhammer.