Niantic, the creators of Pokemon Go recently responded to a letter by Sen. Al Franken. The letter questioned the privacy features of the immensely popular game. The developers defended their creation by explaining the game’s use of player’s location data, and revealed that the game even takes consent from the parents of the users that are below 13 years old.
Sen. Al Franken was puzzled over how the game directly integrated with the Google services, and initially asked for further access to the services than what was required. Niantic Labs swiftly issued an update to the game that revealed the access allowed to the game. “The app collects and stores certain information and interacts with various settings on the Trainer’s mobile device in order to provide that core game functionality and sense of immersion,” Niantic general counsel Courtney Greene Power wrote.
The developers also went to great lengths to reveal the various types of data that it collected from players, and insinuated what might get scraped off from the application in the near future. Moreover, the company is also currently working to release sponsored locations in the US which raised a few eyebrows regarding the privacy issues again.
Obviously, the game developers aren’t sharing personal information with other third parties for money, however it is sharing aggregated player information with retail partners that roll out the money for sponsorship deals. What that actually means is, Niantic isn’t sharing your personal information with any dealers, it’s only sharing your actions on the game. For example, Niantic recently turned all the McDonalds in Japan into Pokemon Gyms by striking a deal with the fast food chain. With this deal Niantic may share the number of people visiting the location and their stay duration or whatever, we may never know. However one thing is for sure, your personal identity will never be out in the open.
Do you think Sen. Al Franken was right to issue the developers a letter? Were his concerns legit? Are you satisfied with the privacy protection the game developers have to offer? Let us know about your views and opinions by commenting in the comments section below.