Pokémon Go has gripped people the world over. But there could be a fly in its ultra-addictive ointment
Although the full game hasn’t actually been released in the UK yet, the app might be capable of more than you think.
If you’ve done the old one-two on iTunes, and sidestepped the App Store’s region locks (see here for details), the Pokémon Go app automatically has permission to go through all of your Gmail records and search history.
Right now you’re probably thinking: “Wait a minute, I didn’t give the app permission to access emails from my account.”
But guess what: it doesn’t need your permission.
Without any warning, signing up for the app with your Google account on an iOS device will allow Pokémon Go to view intricate personal details filed with your account information, meaning that, while they’ve strictly stated that they would not be using this power, developers Niantic Studios could theoretically launch a mass-global information snatch.
What does this all mean?
Okay. Maybe that is over-hyping the situation a little.
Google’s summary of the permission states that the app cannot change your passwords, delete your account, or access your Google wallet, but it can do everything else.
And ultimately the point is: whether they’re going to do it or not, we don’t really want companies to have complete access to our email records, do we?
In fairness, Niantic have been on the problem straight away, and are currently trying to fix the issue that would have probably gone under the radar, if ‘researcher’ Adam Reeve hadn’t spotted the loophole within the sign in page.
You could say it’s all our fault. The fact remains that Pokémon Go hasn’t been officially released in the UK yet, and if you’re going to bypass an international security system just to start your Pokemon journey early, you have to expect a few hurdles.
But the whole debacle begs a serious question: is all our vital information well within the reach of morally questionable hackers, because Google want to access my GPS coordinates?
The answer, based on this incident, is ‘probably’…