There has been a lot written about the security and privacy of Pokemon Go and, as with much of what’s been written about the game we found articles that seemed to employ a fair amount of scare mongering and others that have given rise to some security issues where there are no laws at the moment.
It would appear that the data that Pokemon Go captures isn’t all that dissimilar to other companies and games ““In order to play, you’re paying with your privacy. That’s the agreement you’re making.”
But, at the same time, Niantic’s Ingress gets an A rating from Privacy Grade.
With so many gyms on university campuses something that educators may want to consider is “Who owns the AR on campus,” after all we’ve already seen so AR protests at Westbro Church.
The app tracks your GPS location and has control over your camera. While these are essential to using the app, just consider the possible implications if some third party acquired this data. Unless Niantic’s security is ironclad, there is always the possibility that hackers could get this information and have access to your phone. And with an app as huge as Pokemon GO, hackers will definitely be on the lookout.
“Whether you’re running it on iPhone or Android, the application requests quite a lot of permissions to your phone,” said Corey Roach, enterprise security manager for the U’s Information Security Office
This includes access to your phone’s camera, contacts, GPS, storage and network activity. The app also tracks, stores and in some cases, shares your location – a feature necessary to play the game, but one that causes privacy concerns.
“This is not unique or new,” said Roach. If you’re playing a game you’ve downloaded for free, he said, “That company is making money on your information. That’s how they make their money, so they are, of course, collecting as much as they can.”
You may be surprised at just how many permissions you need to grant an app just to use it, such as in the case of the popular fitness app, MyFitnessPal, which requires a surprising amount of access to things like your contacts, precise location, phone status, photos and videos, storage, camera, device ID and more.
— Mark Riedl (@mark_riedl) July 13, 2016
Should Nintendo & developer Niantic have given more consideration to where the Pokemon (AR objects) are placed? Do they have the right to place them wherever they want? In a lake? In a public park? In your backyard?
Does placing an AR object on a person’s property, without their permission, affect their interest in exclusive possession of property? Does owning property in “the real world” extend property rights to any geo-locative, intellectual property elements that may be placed on it?
Augmented Reality is new. So new that the law hasn’t even begun to broach the topic. It lends itself to lots of big, novel questions from a legal perspective. At the moment, they are unanswered, theoretical questions.
— AP Business News (@APBusiness) July 12, 2016
Todd Richmond, a director at the Institute for Creative Technologies at the University of Southern California, says a big debate is brewing over who controls digital assets associated with real world property.
“This is the problem with technology adoption — we don’t have time to slowly dip our toe in the water,” he says. “Tenants have had no say, no input, and now they’re part of it.” HOW BIG CAN AUGMENTED REALITY GET?
The guidance on safety/privacy is VERY useful for audiences of all ages – is there scope to draw this out so it would be of interest to all. Sue Beckingham | Senior Lecturer | Sheffield Hallam University. Currently researching Social Media in Higher Education
— Alfonso Gonzalez (@educatoral) July 14, 2016