There were reports earlier that the Pokemon Go game installed on iOS powered mobile devices asked for full access to a user’s Google account when signing up. But now, the developer of the game, Niantic Labs has rolled out an update that should modify the permissions needed. When requesting for information, the game now limits its permission to “Know who you are on Google” and “View your email address.”
With this new Google permissions setting, the Pokemon Go augmented reality game gains access to the user’s Google profile information (which includes data on age, gender, etc) only if the user makes the information available. In order to ascertain which information exactly you are sharing, just head to the “Google profile” heading.
As explained previously by Niantic labs, the company had no intention of gaining full account permissions during Pokemon Go’s account creation process, and besides, the game was actually only ever going to get hold of the user’s Google User ID and email address, and nothing more. To Niantic’s credit, it had acted promptly in addressing the issue right after the error came to light. The really cool thing about the deployed update is that it also limits the permissions even for those who have already signed up and are already playing the phenomenally popular mobile game, which means that they no longer need to do anything to protect themselves.
And users who are already enjoying the game will no doubt be delighted to know that the most recent update also enhances the overall stability of Pokemon Go. During the hours and days after the game was globally rolled out, there were reports of random crashes and game state freezes, so it is a good thing that the latest update also addresses those concerns.
Adam Reeve, a known expert on cybersecurity, had shared his experience of discovering that he had inadvertently provided the Pokemon Go game he downloaded and installed with full access permission into his Google account. Interestingly, as noted by Reeve, the problem appears to be only present in iOS powered devices, and not on handsets that run on Google’s Android mobile operating system.
Giving away information regarding one’s Google account is never a wise idea. Even if Niantic Labs ends up not using the information it had accessed via full access permissions, that potentially sensitive data could fall in the wrong hands, i.e. hackers. And because most users today often make use of their Gmail accounts to reset usernames and passwords to all other accounts, hackers who get hold of such access will be able to hack into the user’s online accounts.
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