Pokemon Go developer Niantic under fire for “full access” to Google accounts, states fixes coming soon
Date: Tuesday, July 12th, 2016, 08:05
Category: iOS, iPhone, News, security, Software
If you’re looking to install Pokémon Go on your iOS device, you might want to wait a few days.
Amid revelations that the popular Pokémon Go game for iPhone offers universal access to Google accounts, Google and Niantic have said that user emails and other sensitive data are not being harvested, and that a pair of fixes are incoming.
Early Monday, analytics firm architect Adam Reeve claimed that installing Pokémon Go and using a Google account to play the game granted full access to linked accounts on both Android and iOS, without informing the user. The apps, per the Google Play description, “can see and modify nearly all information in your Google Account” but “can’t change your password, delete your account, or pay with Google Wallet on your behalf.”
The Google Play store is more transparent than the iOS App Store is for this title regarding what the app can access. On the Pokémon Go page, the title is listed as having “full network access” and access to “accounts on the device.”
If followed up completely, the full account access could allow developer Niantic to sift through emails, send emails on behalf of the user, contacts, photos, and any other information stored by a Google account. Users can create a Pokémon account, revoking revoking full permission from the title which has caused crashing of the game, or using a temporary throw-away account to play.
Niantic has offered the following statement:
“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,”
Additionally, Niantic has said that it is currently implementing a client-side fix for Pokémon Go to request permission for only basic Google profile information, corresponding to what the company claims that it is accessing. Niantic also notes that partner Google will soon reduce access permission to only basic data from the server-side as well. No timetable for either fix has been announced.
The game has proven to be a gangbuster for Niantic and Nintendo alike. First launched last week, the title holds the top spot on the iOS charts and is said to be generating between $3.9 million and $4.8 million per day worldwide.
Apple is even said to be earning more from iOS players than Nintendo is collecting directly, as part of a complex business arrangement involving the Pokémon intellectual property.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.