As Pokémon GO players try to catch ‘em all, is Niantic, the company behind the game, collecting all their personal info? iOS users discovered they gave Niantic ‘full access’ to their Google accounts, but is the app really stealing all that data?
Pikachu, how could you? Pokémon GO is taking the world by storm, but does playing it come with a huge privacy cost? Users found out that they’ve handed over access to their Google accounts to Niantic, the company who made the game, but the developers say it’s not as bad as people think!
Anyone who wants to play Pokémon GO needs a Google account to do so and players with Apple products discovered they gave the game “full access” to their Google accounts. This appears to means email, contacts, calendar appointments, and every other bit of data “aside from your password,” according to Lifehacker. However, Niantic claims it looks scarier than it actually is.
It turns out that Niantic used an outdated version of Google’s shared sign-on service, according to The Guardian. The company used this version to make sign-ups quicker and easier for players to start playing. Despite the phrase, they don’t get total access to everyone’s information. “‘Full account access‘ is not the best wording and should probably be changed on Google’s end,” Ari Rubenstein, a Slack security engineer, said about the issue.
Niantic is fixing things to calm players’ fears. “We recently discovered that the Pokémon GO account creation process on iOS erroneously requests full access permission for the user’s Google account,” Niantic said in a statement to HollywoodLife.com. “However, Pokémon GO only accesses basic Google profile information (specifically, your User ID and email address) and no other Google account information is or has been accessed or collected.
Phew! Now that this security and privacy issue has been resolved, Pokémon GO players can worry about spending real money on virtual coins, discovering dead bodies while playing the game, or possibly getting robbed by criminals that put Team Plasma to shame.
Are you relieved that Pokémon GO doesn’t get “full access” to your Google Account, HollywoodLifers? Are you still going to play or will you wait until Niantic releases a patch?