Jay Castello
Freelance Writer
jaymcastello@gmail.com
@jayplaysthings

Safety and Pok‎émon Go

There are a lot of news stories going around about Pokemon Go right now so I wanted to make a very quick post talking about what you need to be careful of:

Don’t walk into traffic. Don’t play Pokemon Go and drive. Seriously, I am not messing around here; I am terrified of the day when we get the first Pokemon Go death. Please, there are things more important than that Jynx.

Please don’t trespass. Especially in police stations/court houses/people’s homes.

Consider your safety from others, especially if there are factors complicating whether it’s safe to just wander around with your phone; such as being black.

There have been confirmed reports of armed robbers luring people to Pokestops with Lure Modules. Best to only go to areas with plenty of foot traffic.

What’s the real deal with security issues? Okay. There’s a lot of misinformation around this so I’m gonna keep it as short as possible: Pokemon Go can access your whole Google account, which means a lot of data (no one knows exactly what!) but Niantic released this 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. Once we became aware of this error, we began working on a client-side fix to request permission for only basic Google profile information, in line with the data that we actually access. Google has verified that no other information has been received or accessed by Pokémon GO or Niantic. Google will soon reduce Pokémon GO’s permission to only the basic profile data that Pokémon GO needs, and users do not need to take any actions themselves.

Tl;dr that permission was a mistake and will be revoked. The only potential issue is if someone with malicious intent uses Niantic’s access to get into people’s Google accounts, and we don’t know what secuity Niantic has against that, but it seems extremely unlikely to me.

Bonus: Will users using the APK be banned? Again, it seems extremely unlikely to me. Using the APK is merely downloading the same product but without the storefront; and moreover Niantic would not want to cut off the millions of people who were enthusiastic enough to access the game early since they’re likely to, you know, spend money on the game.

So, have fun catching them all, but please, please be careful while doing so!

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