This week has seen the return of Pokémon, a much loved game for any child growing up in the 1990’s, and so far, it’s been huge. Pokémon have taken the digital world by storm with their new game, Pokémon GO! And it’s got everybody going crazy. It has however been brought to many people’s attention that whilst the new Pokémon game is an incredible way of re-living your childhood and going crazy to ‘Catch ‘em all’, there are a few issues that may potentially mean game over for some of its players.
What is Pokémon GO?
After some very clever market research, it seems that Pokémon have managed to create a game like no other. Ever thought you’d be able to play Pokémon, but in your own world? Well now you can. The hugely raved app is connected to Google Maps to enable you to use your mobile to follow your own tracks, and find Pokémon to collect. The part that has everyone hooked is that your virtual world is combined with your real world, meaning you walk down the same street, and Pokémon will be positioned all over the place. With up to 150 different Pokémon to collect, it’s becoming a fascination to see who can collect the most, and as a result of this, who can win the game. There’s even a monitor as to how far you can walk to hatch your eggs, from a distance of 2K, 5K and 10. The further you go, the rarer your Pokémon is, so if anything, you may find this game improving health in some aspects!
How do I get it?
Pokémon GO! Is only supposed to be accessible in America, New Zealand and Japan, however, as with any huge craze, people are managing to access the game from all over the globe. In order to do this, people are changing their account settings and editing where their locations are on their mobiles, and it’s working. As a result of this, millions of people across the world are now walking the streets, staring at their phone screens in order to catch Pokémon that may be lurking close by.
The Small Print
Many will have been so excited to finally have their hands on such a highly anticipated game, that they didn’t think to read the terms and conditions when downloading the app to their phones. In the small print, they would have seen that this game has actually gained access to your full Google account. You are requested to use your Google account to sign in, as you won’t yet have a Pokémon username. As the Pokémon GO app is linked to Google Maps, it’s clear to see why the location settings would be a requirement, but it hasn’t stopped there. Many users are now seeing this to be a ‘huge security risk’ as their whole Google account, including Mail and Contacts, has been granted access. This access to Google means that Pokémon Go could potentially read and send emails from you, access images or items saved in the Google Drive, and also see your search history.
Whilst spokesperson Sibel Sunar has said that Google will soon be modifying the permission to ensure that only specific, relevant data can be collected, they are still currently stating:
all of this data can be shared with ‘third-party service providers’ to conduct ‘research and analysis’.
As a result of this, it’s clear to see that Pokémon GO will have access to your accounts for quite a while yet, and whilst we’re over the moon to see the return of such a huge childhood favourite, is it worth the personal invasion of privacy?