The information is not only power, but in many cases usually means “business”. So they recognize directly in Pokémon Go, where in fact qualify all data collected from the players as a “business asset” of the company. The app being the summer has also starred occasional controversy regarding the privacy of its users. What exactly Pokemon Go collect data and what to do with them?

All data collected and stored Pokémon Go

Personal information and registration data

For more details, visit the privacy policy that specifies Go Pokémon on its website. When you check in the game, along with an account Pokémon Trainer Club account or a Google, Niantic explains that collect “certain information that can be used to identify or recognize”. Specifically, this “personal identification information” refers to email and data “that allow us to access the privacy settings of your Google account, CEP or Facebook”.

This information should be added what they call “Registration Data”, among which mention, among others, the IP or the operating system that uses the user, and the “information sent by your mobile device”, such as ” an identifier of the device, user settings and operating system of your device (or its authorized minors) and information about your use of our services while using the mobile device.”

Pokémon Go
Image Source: Google Image


However, when privacy policy starts talking about the “location information” it is when we arise questions. By the dynamics of the game, it seems logical that Pokémon has access Go (eye, access) to the location of the device as it accounts to stroll to go collecting Pokemons. But not only they know where you are, but where you’ve been, since store this information.

“We collect and store location information,” they explained, adding that they can use to “improve and personalize our services.” They do not offer many details about how location data stored on its servers , or exactly what they will be used.

The controversy with the management of geolocation data is not new to Niantic. When in 2012, while still part of Google, launched Ingress (the augmented reality game than Pokémon Go has inherited much ), there were many critics who accused the app to be a simple excuse finder to collect and store more data location than ever. In New Scientist, it was clear and referred to the game as “a goldmine of data” to Google.

Do your contacts?

Pokémon Go need to know where you are and to activate your camera to your augmented reality work, but Besides need access to your contacts? Although it is not mentioned at all in the privacy of Niantic, application for Android if required permission, so as Bluetooth configuration settings.

In this case it might be asking permission in advance for the new features that are planned. For example, the contacts might have to do with some sort of internal messaging or the ability to challenge your friends. And related to Bluetooth, maybe for bracelet they plan to market?

The controversy with Google

It is impossible to talk about Pokémon Go and privacy without explaining, at least in summary form, all the controversy in mid-July was formed after it was discovered that in iOS, those who created your account using your Google user, gave Niantic full access to all your information.

From Niantic they assured then that it was a bug that only affected the iOS app. The official version claims that was never his aim ask full access to the Google account of all their players and they just need the basic information (user ID and email). “Google has verified that no other information has been received or accessed by Pokémon or Niantic Go”, explained in the clarification issued then.

Who do you share the information?

Who has access to these data deliveries to Niantic? The Pokémon Company, its service providers (with if only to provide such services), the authorities (among which include “private entities”) and “others”. Specifically, with respect to the latter, Niantic clarifies that: “We may share aggregate information and not identifying with third parties for research and analysis, creating demographic profiles and other similar purposes This information will not include your PII (Authorized minor)”.

As protection, they also include a clause referring to how the information collected is “a commercial asset” and this could be sold by the company. This means, as they explain, that the stored data “may be disclosed or transferred to a third party purchaser related to the transaction.” In short: if the company sells Niantic, your data may go in the agreement, but you will have 30 days to cancel.

The ambiguous privacy policy Pokémon Go

The controversy with Google accounts no longer grab headlines and even a US Senator came to ask one official explanation on the matter and how, in general, Niantic manages the data privacy of its users. Said Senator refers on several occasions unclear is the privacy policy on the treatment of personal information of their players.

If you’ve reviewed some of the quotes that we have included or if you have directly read the privacy policy, you certainly will remain in mind many questions that do not respond Niantic. What geolocation information stored, how often, in what format and what it is used exactly? What do you mean exactly use the data to “improve and customize their services”? What is the role here of the “third party services”, who exactly are they doing and what treatment data? And the other owners of the app (The Pokémon Company and Nintendo), what do they do with the data they have access to them?

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This ambiguity, coupled with the amount of information they collect, has given rise to some other (very conspirator) about its origins and the CIA conspirator theory, to Oliver Stone’s qualify as a weapon of control and even some theorize a possible useful application to the authorities (note the “possible”): Pokémons put in the house of a suspect for the hunt it and thus get images from inside your home. Absurd? Maybe, but it is that not Niantic specifies whether recorded or stored information captured by the camera (which do have access).

Others do not see this and feel that has generated unnecessary alarm because too much data gathering is very widespread among all applications. In fact, Pokémon Go calls in less permissions that Facebook Android and even Ingress, its “big brother”.

What can you do about managing your privacy?

And now comes the hard part: what can you do if you do not agree with that Pokémon Go have all this information about you or your children? The short answer is “nothing”, unless you are willing to stop playing. In this case, if you can contact them and demand that erase your data even warn that “some information may remain in the archive copies or backups for our records or to meet other legal requirements.”

If you want to play but want to review exactly what permissions you granted the application, you can access it from your mobile device (Android from here and iOS Settings> Pokemon Go). If you remove the geolocation, you cannot put yourself and the game will not work, but if you do not use the augmented reality mode you can always remove the access permission to the camera.

If you created your account via your Google user, and although it has already solved the problem, you can check which has access from My Account> Login and Security> Applications and sites connected to your account.

You do not want your Google account is associated with your account Pokémon Go? Note that if you use Android, the app can also know the account you use on your phone, but also always have the option to create another alternative Gmail account or create an account Pokémon Go servers. From experience, this latter option usually gives more problems because servers tend to fall frequently.

And what else? Unfortunately, little more. The Wall Street Journal spoke a few days ago with Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy and Information Center, summed it up this way: “I think people are concerned about their privacy but in reality there are very few things you can do about it and they know”. In the case of Pokémon Go, and except for some minor adjustments, either you accept the ambiguous conditions Niantic or you cannot play.

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