The Case of Pokémon Go and How Apps Are Disrupting Your Privacy

By Paul Fitzgerald
All of us who own mobile devices use apps for a host of reasons. We like to access and share information, we enjoy communicating, and we love games and entertainment. Enter Nintendo’s Pokémon Go, an app that has crushed records since it launched this past July. Only hours after it was released it broke the record for the biggest daily turnover in the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) and took the top spot on the App store.

Developed by Niantic, Pokémon Go is the most popular mobile game in U.S. history and it now has over 22 million daily users. Nintendo reports that its shares for the game have soared to nearly 90 percent. Yes, this is all quite impressive. 

Pokémon Go is a sensation in every right; however before you get caught up in all the craze keep in mind that when you download its app, like many other popular apps, you are risking one thing: your privacy. 

Plenty of us assume that when we go to download an app that our privacy is protected. But think again. 

When was the last time you actually fully read the fine print in the “terms and conditions” section when you downloaded an app? Many of us are innocently guilty of just quickly accepting them without any question. 

Keep in mind, it is very important that all of us read “terms and conditions” very closely when downloading any app. Believe it or not, many of the companies who are making today’s most popular apps actually have access to data on your personal mobile device, like your emails, address book, location, and in some instances they even have access to your pictures, videos and microphone. 
Scared yet? Keep reading. 

When you click on the “I Agree” box in the “terms and conditions” when downloading an app, you may also be granting the app provider to share and access some of your personal data with a third party for advertising and promotional purposes.  

Pokémon Go is one of many new apps on the market that has access to your personal data when you download it on your mobile device. This past July and August, privacy and security experts warned the public via the news media that Niantic Labs has full access to your Google account if you used it to log into the game from an iOS device. Niantic Labs recently has assured its Pokémon Go users that they actually only have access to your basic Google account info, but still this is rightfully a cause for concern on the personal privacy front. 

What’s even more concerning when downloading apps like Pokémon Go is that hackers could also access your personal data as well and this is never a good thing for obvious reasons. 

The point, read the “terms and conditions” carefully before downloading an app. When you read everything you will know exactly how your privacy will be disrupted. New apps on the market want access to more and more of your personal information so know your rights and stay safe. 

Paul Fitzgerald is a science and technology writer with and blogs for CNN International Report. He is also tech and celebrity writer with Hoss Magazine, one of North America's leading home lifestyle publications. 

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