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Is Pokémon Go Secretly Mining Your Personal Information?

If you have been at all present on social media in the past week or so, chances are you have seen a meme (or twelve) about the latest mobile gaming app, Pokémon Go. The app is a revitalization of the card game that was the height of coolness on playgrounds during the early 2000s.

The game has become so popular so quickly that it has resulted in robberies and the discovery of a dead body, and its servers have repeatedly crashed as a result of so much traffic. As with any new fad, some people have a fair amount of skepticism of the game’s greatness, despite its intense sweeping of the mainstream.

Reports are stating that when users sign up for Pokémon Go and are asked to log in with a Google account, they grant (without their knowledge, as there is no warning) the app all of the information they have stored with Google. This is more than just emails, and could mean any photos or documents you have saved on your Google account, as well as access to other interfaces that you use through Google!

According to tech reporting site CNET, if the company who created Pokémon Go “got hacked…cyberattackers could access your Google account…this is essentially giving hackers access to every online account we have.”

Niantic Labs, where Pokémon Go was born, stated of the issue that “once [they] became aware of [the] error” they immediately started to repair it, and “users do not need to take any actions themselves.” The status of the data that could have been accessed before the company found out about the problem remains to be seen.

It is possible to go into your Google account settings and modify the level of access that apps have to your personal information, but until this glitch is fixed, we’re definitely going to be deleting the app from our phones in favor of some good old Angry Birds. Cyber security is no joke, people!

Margeaux Biché

Columbia Barnard

Margeaux Biché is a current senior at Barnard College living in New York City. During her freshman year, she studied at the George Washington University in D.C., where she wrote for The GW Hatchet. She is a Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies major and is passionate about social justice. While she does not know exactly where she'll take her degree, she hopes she can contribute to the advancement of marginalized peoples through legal and/or activist work. Chocolate covered pretzels are her favorite food, Rihanna is her favorite musician and her go-to talent is her ability to wiggle her ears. Margeaux loves dogs, hiking and her hometown basketball team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, all of which are oft-featured on her Instagram account. Twitter | LinkedIn
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