A new update for the game released Tuesday includes a fix for the “Google account scope” issue that raised privacy concerns with the iOS version of the game.
Pokémon Go grabbed worldwide attention over the weekend as the augmented reality smartphone game that allows players to search the real world to find and capture Pokémon monsters like Squirtle and Pikachu. It soared to the top of the download charts on both the iPhone’s app store and Google Play after its release in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand.
Security experts had flagged privacy concerns claiming users who signed up via their Google accounts were told the game had “full access” to their information.
The issue was first reported by Adam Reeve, a principal architect at analytics firm Red Owl, who posted a warning on his personal blog on Friday claiming the game’s developer Niantic Labs could potentially read your email, send email from your account, access Google drive documents, and browse your search history.
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Niantic labs responded with a statement to several media outlets on Tuesday it had only ever logged user IDs and email addresses.
“We recently discovered that the Pokémon Go account creation process on iOS erroneously requests full access permission for the user’s Google account,” it said in a statement to The Verge.
“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.”
Global News attempted to reach Google for comment but did not receive a response.
The Pokémon Go craze has swept the world and in just the few days since its release the game is on more Android phones than the dating app Tinder, and its daily active users is on par with Twitter, according to analytics firm SimilarWeb.
However, the popularity of the game has also come with a dark side after reports the game was used by four teenagers in Missouri in nearly a dozen armed robberies, according to police.
Users, or “trainers,” have also become so involved in the game they have reported minor injuries from tripping and falling while glued to their screens. And in one case, a 19-year-old girl reported coming across a dead body while catching Pokémon.
The game has not officially been released in Canada yet, but Canadians are still finding ways to access the app.
*With files from Nicole Bogart