If you haven’t heard of the “Pokémon GO” phenomenon, you may want to come out from beneath your rock (that may also be a poke-stop)! All joking aside, the Pokémon Company International, Nintendo CO Ltd, and Niantic Inc. creation that was released earlier this month is an augmented reality application to inhabit a popular game of the millennial generation’s childhood.
While many people have been taken to Facebook and Twitter to praise the application’s encouragement of physical activity (in order to advance in the game, you have to make your way to different physical locations to catch Pokémon, enter tournaments, etc.), others are concerned with the potential security flaws the app poses. For instance, many criminals have already exploited the game’s mechanics to lure unsuspecting victims and carry out armed robberies.
Another potential security flaw may result in data breaches. Senator Al Franken, D-Minn., posted an open letter to the CEO of Niantic Tuesday asking for more information, citing that he was concerned the game-maker may be unnecessarily collecting, using and sharing a wide range of users’ personal information without their appropriate consent. Privacy concerns were raised due to the fact that the app asked for “full access permission” to users’ Google accounts when logging on through that service through their Apple’s iOS platform.
Sen. Franken’s concerns are warranted due to the fact that the app has been downloaded about 7.5 million times so far, and will continue to grow in popularity. For businesses that handle customer-critical data, it is crucial to keep an eye on this application, as well as others that can potentially compromise your customers’ data.
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