A privacy trainwreck: Pokemon Go, the hit augmented reality game that's seeing kids and adults alike scouring the real world
looking for monsters to nab, quietly gets "full access" to players' Google accounts. And check out the small print that goes with it.
To play the game you need an account. Weirdly, Niantic won’t let you just create one... you’ll need to use a Google account - and that’s where the fun begins. ...on a whim I went to see which permissions it was granted (you can see for your own account right here). To say I was a little stunned is putting it lightly - it said:
Pokemon Go has full access to your Google account ...
Let me be clear - Pokemon Go and Niantic can now:
Read all your email
Send email as you
Access all your Google drive documents (including deleting them)
Look at your search history and your Maps navigation history
Access any private photos you may store in Google Photos
And a whole lot more
(UPDATE: Niantic, the developer, assures players that the game only accesses basic account information, and will be updated to reduce the access permissions it currently takes when you log in though Google.
We recently discovered that the Pokémon GO account creation process on iOS erroneously requests full access permission for the user’s Google account. However, Pokémon GO only accesses basic Google profile information (specifically, your User ID and email address) 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 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.
Moreover, Reeve was mistaken: the level currently granted does not allow email to be read.