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You could be giving Pokemon Go access to private data -- here's how to protect yourself

Photo: Pokemon/ IMDb.

There are a number of conspiracy theories on Reddit right now about the worldwide phenomena that is Pokemon Go.

Most of them revolve around the data Pokemon Go and Niantic Labs, the game’s maker, have access to once you sign up.

One Reddit user Homer_Simpson_Doh points to mobile game’s privacy policy.

Under a section of the policy titled “Information that we share with third parties” it reads:

e. Information Disclosed for Our Protection and the Protection of Others.

We cooperate with government and law enforcement officials or private parties to enforce and comply with the law. We may disclose any information about you (or your authorized child) that is in our possession or control to government or law enforcement officials or private parties as we, in our sole discretion, believe necessary or appropriate: (a) to respond to claims, legal process (including subpoenas); (b) to protect our property, rights, and safety and the property, rights, and safety of a third party or the public in general; and © to identify and stop any activity that we consider illegal, unethical, or legally actionable activity.

Homer_Simpson_Doh says: “The scary part is they basically tell you they cannot be held accountable for anything the third party does with the data.”

Fellow Reddit user ixAp0c suggests that Pokemon Go is a front for Geospatial Intelligence gathering.

See the reasoning behind that conclusion here.

Others are concerned that not only are you giving the app access to your location and camera, if you signed into the game with Google, you are authorising full access to your account for Pokémon Go.

Here’s what the privacy policy says about that.

Any information that you (or your authorized child) provide on or to a Third Party Service or that is collected by a Third Party Service (including Google, Facebook and PTC) is provided directly to the owner or operator of the Third Party Service and is subject to the owner’s or operator’s privacy policy. We’re not responsible for the content, privacy, or security practices and policies of any Third Party Service.

Normally in these situations, where you sign up to an app using Google, you’re prompted with a notification of the access you are granting to the app.

This breach was first discovered by a risk analyst, Adam Reeve, from Red Owl, on Tumblr.

“Pokemon Go has full access to your Google account,” he writes.

“What’s more, given the use of email as an authentication mechanism (think “Forgot password” links) they now have a pretty good chance of gaining access to your accounts on other sites too.”

I certainly didn’t get any such notification when signing up to the app using my Google Account.

So how do you fix that?

While we don’t have the answer yet for Android, @arirubinstein provided a solution for iOs on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/arirubinstein/status/752560396574134274

Read Pokémon GO Privacy Policy in full here.

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