Yeah Pokémon Go is going gangbusters in terms of popularity, so much so that the servers seem to be going up and down quite regularly. In fact, the mobile game has become so popular in just a few days that it’s now overtaken Tinder, and it’s likely to overtake Twitter, too, as one of the most popular and widely used mobile games.
If you’ve played Pokémon Go on your iOS device, though, you might have just given Niantic (the game’s developer) full access to your Google account. This means, amongst other things, that Niantic (theoretically — see below) has access to:
- Read and access your email
- Access your Google Drive
- See your Search History
- Look at your private Google Photos
Now, in saying that, this issue has been raised with Niantic well before this story was published, and being a Google company, Niantic is extremely unlikely to actually do anything with your Google account; why would they? Still, it’s a somewhat serious potential issue, and so Niantic have come out publicly with this response (via Engadget):
We recently discovered that the Pokémon Go account creation process on iOS erroneously requests full access permission for the user’s Google account. However, 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.
If you’re especially worried about this, you can revoke Pokémon Go’s permissions, which will likely cause some issues with playing the game going forward. We’d suggest, unless you’re especially concerned, just waiting for Niantic to fix the issue up.
In our assessment, this is very unlikely to materialise in any data breach or misuse of your (or anyone else’s) personal information, so the risk is almost certainly low.
If you are worried, here’s the link to revoke Pokémon Go’s account permissions.