While You Track Pokémon, Pokémon Go Tracks You: Inside the Game's Backlash

Catching 'em all has a price

By Francesca Bacardi Jul 12, 2016 1:03 PMTags
Pokémon GoYouTube/Pokémon Go

Gotta catch 'em all? There's a price to pay.

Pokémon Go has completely taken over the world, but slowly but surely people are starting to realize that not all is as it seems with the beloved mobile game. Sure, people have gotten injured and charged with armed robbery while playing the game, but that's not what's turning people off. It turns out that deliberately giving the game access to your location and other information—GPS is the basis of the game—means people are also giving up a ton of personal data.

When a user downloads and plays the game, he/she is giving the company behind Pokémon Go, Niantic, the right to share the data it collects to third parties, including law enforcement and other buyers. Although companies of other mobile apps have made money off of this type of thing, it's the massive amount of users playing Pokémon Go that is raising eyebrows everywhere.

Here's Why the Internet Won't Stop Talking About Pokémon Go—and Why It's So Dangerous

To play the game, a player must either log in with an existing Google account or create a username on the "Pokémon Trainer Club." If a player chooses the former, Niantic can technically access their Google drives, emails, search history and more. In response to the worry and backlash that has since plagued the game since users found out this information, Niantic and the Pokémon Company released a statement that explained they're only accessing players' usernames and email addresses, "and no other Google account information is or has been accessed or collected."

Additionally, the companies said, "Google has verified that no other information has been received or accessed by Pokémon Go or Niantic."

Niantic has said it has been working on a fix for the privacy issue, and Google will automatically downgrade the permissions for Pokémon Go. Ideally this means players will soon be able to catch a Charmander without giving up their private information.