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Pokemon Go: Privacy concerns

14th July 2016

Pokemon Go was unleashed in the UK yesterday and has already become wildly popular.  But, gamers have been shocked to learn that using the app through a Google account, particularly on an Apple device, means granting the game’s developers, Niantic Labs, ‘full access’ to your account.  Similarly, for Android users, that means access to your phone’s camera, contacts, location, and your storage.   It was initially feared downloading and playing the game would allow Niantic to read and send emails, access, edit and delete documents in Google Drive and Google Photos, and access browser and maps histories.

However, Niantic have since move to deny the rumours and claim the app only accesses ‘basic Google profile information (specifically, your user ID and email address)’.  Of course, once you grant access to a 3rd party, you have very little control over what they do with that information and Google states that you should only ever grant ‘full access’ to applications you ‘fully trust’.  So, although this does represent a genuine privacy concern, it appears the developer has no intention of using that power.  Indeed, the app requires access to your camera and your location just to function properly.

To that end, our advice is simple, only download and grant permissions to applications you really trust…..and don’t use all your data looking for Pokemon.

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