Pokemon GO seems to be all anybody can talk about this week. It’s been downloaded by millions, caused some real-world funny situations and caused stock in Nintendo to skyrocket. But there’s a darker side to the game — besides the psychic Pokemon.
The Pokemon GO app — and its parent company, Niantic — is collecting TONS of data about its users. Because the app uses GPS, it is constantly tracking your location. (You may have already assumed that.) But on top of your location, the app also has access to your email address, IP address, username and even the web page you were looking at before logging into the app. And it gets weirder.
If you’re playing the game on an iOS device and logging in using your Google account, Pokemon GO has incredible access to absolutely everything: Google Chrome, documents in Drive, emails, your photos and your Maps history — a terrifying prospect if Niantic ever were to be hacked. Yikes!
But there is some reassuring news to all of this. After stories circulated yesterday about this really scary hidden “feature,” Niantic told Gizmodo that the app is actively working with Google to change its access to “request permission for only basic Google profile information, in line with the data that we actually access. Google has verified that no other information has been received or accessed by Pokémon GO or Niantic.”
But if the whole thing still has you a little skeeved, you can check which apps are getting how much of your Google data here. In the meantime, keep playing Pokemon GO, but keep an eye out not only for Jigglypuffs and Meowths, but your online privacy.
Is your privacy more important than catching Pokemon? Let us know @BritandCo!