Privacy & Security Considerations


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.

PrivacyGrade gave Niantic, Pokemon Go’s parent company, an A for Ingress, its earlier AR app.


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 $105 Billion Enterprise Market for Pokemon Go

Digital exhaust — the data tracks we leave behind whenever we are online — is a rich source of insight.

Poképrivacy: Privacy and Legal Issues in Pokemon GO

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.

Pokemon Go: Security Risks @TheU

“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.

Pokemon Go isn’t the only app to do this. Many of the mobile apps you use on a daily basis also require extensive access to your phone.

“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.

Roach recommended users log in and check their Google app permission settings.

users simply aren’t going to stop playing games – but it’s important to know the security and privacy risks before you play.

“There’s not really a way to play these games safely,” said Roach. “In order to play, you’re paying with your privacy. That’s the agreement you’re making.”

Is PokemonGo Illegal? – Associate’s Mind

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? silent-sam

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?  

Is placing an AR object on a person’s private property, without their permission, a creation of an attractive nuisance?  

Trespass is about exclusive possession. It’s an affirmative act interfering with possessory rights.  

Does your exclusive rights to property extend to cyberspace?  

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.  

Does Pokemon Go Have To Comply With The Americans With Disabilities Act?

Pokemon Go is limiting for people with physical disabilities, and the physical requirements needed to play the game

For instance, Alyx, who uses a wheelchair, said she could not access a Pokemon on the top of a rocky hill.

Does Pokemon Go Have To Comply With The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)?


‘Pokemon Go’ digital popularity is also warping real life


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 reaction (to Pokemon Go) is a quick of vote of ‘Yeah, they got this right,'” Carone says. “My guess is that a lot of developers have gone back to figure out how to take this approach.”  


Senator Al Franken demands Pokemon Go release privacy information  

The insanely popular Pokemon Go is collecting users’ data and sharing it with anonymous third parties, Senator Al Franken of Minnesota said in a letter to the company’s CEO on Tuesday.

The lawmaker wrote a letter to Niantic Inc’s John Hanke on Tuesday with a list of demands for further information regarding the app’s privacy settings.

“I am concerned about the extent to which Niantic may be unnecessarily collecting, using, and sharing a wide range of users’ personal information without their appropriate consent,” he wrote.

unethical Pokétrainers who would definitely be members of Team Rocket are tricking Pokemon Go into letting them visit anywhere without leaving the house.

They are also—and this is important—definitely risking a perma-ban from PokéDeveloper Niantic if they get caught.

But that doesn’t mean you can expect Niantic to turn a blind eye to this. Pokemon Go’s terms of use warn players not to use “any unauthorized third-party software (e.g. bots, mods, hacks, and scripts) to modify or automate operation,” or “attempt to circumvent any restriction in any Service,” including restrictions on geography. If you do, Niantic has the power to “suspend or terminate your access to some or all” of the game.

If Niantic’s banhammer does come down on anyone messing about with Pokemon Go, it is likely to again be swift and merciless.

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


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