The app Pokémon Go is incredibly popular. The game has been released in 30 countries so far and has been installed more then ten million times. Up to now, Thailand has been spared from display looking-Pokémon hunting zombies, the urge to abandon their vehicles on the middle of the road in order to catch the cute little monsters or collect virtual items. However, the app is a very clever data collector. Your personal data will be shared and sold even to companies whose names you will never get to know.
Pokémon Go has been released by Niantic Inc (San Francisco/USA) and developed in cooperation with Nintendo. Google Inc is one of their investors.
The product is YOU
In order to be able to play the game, you will need to download and install it on your device, allowing Niantic to store your exact location on their servers at all times (while the game is actively running either visible on your screen or in the background) and agree to their data protection regulations which are, in a nutshell, very vague. Niantic only gives examples of data collection from your device and can do with it whatever they please. Your data will be stored on servers in the United States and can be shared with local law enforcement agencies. That could be pictures, videos or any kind of message or posts.
About the App
. If you make use of the second option, Google will be able to link the data they already have from you to the ones they will receive through the game such as where and when you play the game.
But it gets even better:
Pokémon GO establishes a connection to various servers before and while you play the game and transmits your personal data.
Those companies are not mentioned in the data protection regulations. (According to experts those data transmissions are not needed at all in order to be able to play the game)
During test connections to servers of the following companies could be verified:
Unity Technologies: Located in California, USA. Supplier of 3D graphic function of many computer – and smartphone games. This company also operates data analyses and a marketing service.
Apteligent Inc.: Located in California, USA. Offers real-time user data.
Upsight Inc.: Located in California, USA. Offers typical tracking- and marketing service. Upsight also analyses user data and creates data profiles for specific marketing.
To above mentioned companies the following data are being transmitted:
Device ID UUID (universally unique identifier), device model and manufacturer, operation system, actual memory usage, country code, your network provider, the entire gaming history and all locations.
According to Niantics’ data protection regulations you may object against data transmitting to third parties by sending an email to: email@example.com.
If you are unable to resist and the game becomes available in Thailand, think first which locations you would and would not like to share with the world, such as the area you live or work. Simply do not play the game at those places, but instead one or two kilometers away from them.
Best is to create a new Google account by using details that pointing away from you rather then towards you.