Released last week, Pokemon GO has already become a massive hit with gamers, but there are possible privacy concerns for iOS users. Let’s take a look.
Further reading: Use a VPN to Download Popular Game Pokemon GO
Niantic Labs and Nintendo created Pokemon GO, and it is already generating a sizable amount of revenue. It is an augmented reality game where you can catch Pokemon all around the world, with Pokemon, Pokemon Gyms and PokeStops appearing everywhere. Once players reach Level 5, they have the option to join one of three teams: Team Instinct, Team Mystic, and Team Valor.
When a person first signs up to play the game, they can either link their Google account or create an account with Pokemon Trainer Club. Due to the high volume of traffic, Niantic has been having server issues, so right now it might not be possible to create an account with the Pokemon Trainer Club.
When an iPhone user signs up using their Google account, the app gets full access to your account. According to Google’s official support document, full access means:
“When you grant full account access, the application can see and modify nearly all information in your Google Account. Certain Google applications may be listed under full account access. For example, you might see that the Google Maps application you downloaded for your iPhone has full account access.”
Niantic released a statement today saying that the request for full access was “erroneous” and Pokemon Go only obtains basic information like user IDs and email addresses. Niantic also added that Google has made sure that no other information has been received or accessed by Niantic or Pokemon Go. The full statement is as follows:
“We recently discovered that the Pokemon Go account creation process on iOS erroneously request full access permission for the user’s Google account. However, Pokemon Go only access basically Google profile information (specifically, your User ID and email addresses) and no other Google account information is or has been accessed or collected.
Once we became aware of this error, we began working on a client-side fix 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 Pokemon Go or Niantic. Google will soon reduce Pokemon Go’s permission to only the basic profile data that Pokemon Go needs, and users do not need to take any actions themselves.”
Having the app on my own iPhone, I can confirm that the game has been updated to reduce the permissions needed, as you can see in my screenshot below.
Aside from creating a Pokemon Trainer Club profile, another option is to create a new Google account specifically for the purpose of gaming. This option is only viable for new players. Otherwise, you’ll lose all of your progress by creating a new account.
First, you can head to myaccount.google.com to remove the app from your account. Under Sign In & Security > Connected apps and sites, you can remove Pokemon Go and other apps that have access to your account. It’s a good idea to check this page once in a while, in case you have apps accessing your account that you don’t use anymore.
Once access has been revoked, log out of your account and proceed to create a new account. Name it whatever you want, such as GamingProfile…or gamingprofile882.
The benefit of using such an account is twofold: you can use it for any game, and there won’t be any personal data for Google and connected apps to use against you. With any luck, Niantic Labs will get its servers in a stable position so that gamers can get started.