Pokémon Go moves to address concerns over Google account access

Pokémon Go

The huge worldwide hit Pokémon Go has been criticised over concerns that the app is invading the privacy of users, with the company behind the Augmented Reality (AR) gaming app attempting to clarify the matter.

Pokémon Go is a new app, which allows smartphone users to move around the real world, looking for creatures known as Pokémon. It has shot to the top of app stores in the US, New Zealand and Australia, as many look to bring their childhood memories of Pokémon into the real world.

When signing up through their Google Accounts, users of iOS were told the game had “full access” to their information. This understandably led to a bit of an outcry from people, accusing the game’s developer, Niantic Labs, of invading their privacy.

Being granted full access to users’ accounts would theoretically mean that not only could all emails, documents, browser and map histories potentially be read, Niantic Labs could also edit and delete these.

The company said that this only occurred because it had used old conditions for permissions, which would be changed. Those with an Android smartphone do not seem to have encountered the same issue.

In a statement, Niantic Labs said: “We recently discovered that the Pokémon Go account creation process on iOS erroneously requests full access permission for the user’s Google account. 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 Pokémon Go or Niantic. Google will soon reduce Pokémon Go’s permission to only the basic profile data that Pokémon Go needs, and users do not need to take any actions themselves.”

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