With unprecedented speed, the Pokemon Go app has seemingly taken over the world. And as millions were caught up in their quest for Pikachus and Jigglypuffs, it quickly became apparent that the free “augmented reality” cellphone app was giving its creators unprecedented access to users’ personal Google account information.
When users – especially those using the iOS version – log into Pokémon Go using their Google account, Nintendo and Niantic, the app’s developer, are given “full account access” to everything in the user’s Google account, including emails, pictures, documents, all of the user’s past locations, and search history.
It’s highly unlikely that most users had any clue that their Google lives were now an open book to the companies causing them to wander the streets at all hours. But it now also appears unlikely that Niantic or Nintendo were seeking or receiving all of that information on purpose.
As reported in Business Insider, Niantic clarified that Pokémon Go’s requests for such unlimited access to players’ Google accounts wasn’t intentional, and that such access was never used to look at players’ account information other than their email address and user ID. It was simply a bug on the iOS version of Pokémon Go, Niantic said, one which it said it would quickly address and fix.
Indeed, on July 12, Niantic released updated versions of the Pokémon Go app for both Android and iPhone. According to its release notes, the new version will no longer have access to users’ full Google accounts, but will instead only be able to “know who [users] are on Google” and see their email addresses.
So, all you trainers, upload those new versions ASAP and spend less time worrying about your privacy and more time worrying about whether your little guys will be ready for battle.