US Senator Al Franken Has Privacy Concerns About Pokémon Go’s Data Collection

United States Senator Al Franken continues to clamp down on privacy issues in technology. In a letter dated yesterday (via GameSpot), he raised several issues to Niantic Labs CEO John Hanke expressing concern over how Pokemon Go may or may not use information gleaned from users as they play the game.

Franken opens by pointing out that over 7 million users have downloaded the game during its first week of availability across iOS and Android devices. He states his belief that Americans have a right to keep personal information private, and that extends to choosing how companies gather data from technology such as hardware and video games.

His primary concern is that, while Pokemon Go allows users to opt out of sharing their precise location and other data, the game doesn't make this clear. "When done appropriately, the collection and use of personal information may enhance consumers' augmented reality experience, but we must ensure that Americans'—especially children's—very sensitive information is protected."

Franken gave credit where credit was due. He commended Hanke and his team for correcting the app's permission to access all of a user's Google account on iOS devices. However, he did ask Niantic's CEO to consider several questions and provide answers by August 12.

Those questions, in short:

1) What information does Pokemon Go collect, and why does it need that info?

2) What game features require user info in order to function, and are there any other purposes not disclosed by Niantic?

3) Would Niantic consider making non-integral data optional via an opt-in/opt-out choice on the user's part?

4) With what service providers does Niantic share information gathered from Pokemon Go, and does the company also share user data with the game's investors?

5) Can Niantic explain the purposes for which it share user data with third parties?

6) How does the company ensure that parents provide consent for their children to use the game, and how does it inform parents that their children's information is being collected?

7) Would the company please explain how it went about fixing the mistake that gave its game full access to a user's Google account, as well as confirm that no additional information was collected due to this flaw?

Senator Franken's full letter is available for viewing. Back in April, the senator penned a similar missive to Oculus in regards to privacy concerns raised by use of Oculus Rift.

Source : http://www.shacknews.com/article/95847/us-senator-al-franken-troubled-over-pokemon-gos-privacy-issues

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