The ‘Pokémon Go’ app is taking the World by storm effectively planting a snoop into into the pocket of millions of people, the majority of which are children.
BBC reports on its UK release:
The game uses a smartphone’s GPS location and real-world maps to track players as they move around. Players can visit Pokestops – typically landmarks or buildings – and collect free items in the game.
The main aim is to catch Pokemon, which pop up along the way. The game provides an augmented reality experience, using the smartphone’s camera to provide a live view of the world, with Pokemon superimposed.
Any creatures caught can be used in battle against other players at Pokemon gyms – also real-world landmarks.
And even the BBC report on the privacy concerns surrounding the app:
However, some people have raised concerns about the app’s safety. The chief executive of children’s charity NSPCC urged the app’s makers to adapt the game before its UK release, warning that adults could use it to prey on children.
An NSPCC spokesman said: “It’s deeply troubling that the app’s owners have ignored many warning signals and well documented child safety concerns. It would have been better if they had taken time to reflect on these and put their young users first.”
But as the company behind the App have said everything is clearly stated in their privacy statement – but who reads those eh?
In other words, when the company gets big (hint: it already is) it’ll sell your personally identifiable info (PII) to the highest bidder.
— Zack Whittaker (@zackwhittaker) July 11, 2016
Information that we collect from our users, including PII, is considered to be a business asset. Thus, if we are acquired by a third party as a result of a transaction such as a merger, acquisition, or asset sale or if our assets are acquired by a third party in the event we go out of business or enter bankruptcy, some or all of our assets, including your (or your authorized child’s) PII, may be disclosed or transferred to a third party acquirer in connection with the transaction. In the event of such a transaction, we will give you notice of the transaction and the opportunity for a period of 30 days to refuse disclosure or transfer of your (or your authorized child’s) PII to the third party acquirer in connection with the transaction.
If the Companies own storage of your childrens data is not worrying enough there is also the nature of the game play, allowing paedophiles the perfect tool for ‘luring’ children to set locations as the Daily Mail reports:
One element of the game sees users putting a ‘lure’ on a certain area, which causes Pokemon to appear in that position, attracting gamers to the area.
Fearful of where this could lead, one woman carried out an ‘experiment’, which saw her post a ‘lure’ to see how many people turned up. Within moments, several children had arrived at the chosen – most without parents – having ignored their usual ‘stranger danger’ radar in pursuit of the monster.
‘It occurs to me that someone could use this for nefarious purposes’, the user known as Robin wrote.
‘There’s a sense of camaraderie that is built up around this game. The kid I just played with definitely lost his stranger danger sense.’
So we urge you to seriously consider whether you are going to allow your children to play this game, if they already are we recommend removing the App.