Permissions, Privacy and Safety – Pokemon Go

Permissions, Privacy and Safety – Pokemon Go

Anyone concerned about what privacy they have or what permissions they allow on their mobile phones seem not to care anymore since downloading Pokemon Go which is a free app on Android and iOS.

If you’ve not heard about it ….. haha – Pokemon Go is an Augmented Reality Game from Nintendo, The Pokémon Co., and developer Niantic Labs.  The aim of the game is to discover and train Pokemon that will appear around you on your phone, in the real world.  To complete this game you will have to travel far and wide during the day and night, and if you can’t do that, there are in-game purchases to help you complete the game, which is where Nintendo will make their money.

So now to privacy…

I’m not just talking about the fact that is a location tracking game – for a kids game, this should ring alarm bells on its own. No, I’m talking about the permissions you have to allow to play the game and the Pokemon Go – Niantic – Privacy Policy, which in one part informs you that they may share your information to other parties.  And that it wants full access to your Google account and or your Facebook account.  Don’t get me wrong, I am as excited as anyone else in the UK to know when Pokemon Go is coming out in the UK.  Its seems these delays have made us all want Pokemon Go all the more. However, I don’t have small children who are using this game on their phones.

Its brilliant that this game is getting our kids outside again – if we can ignore the fact that we have already seen Robbers using the Pokemon Go app to target victims  and seemingly causing other real life dangers.  Also be aware of these things in the game called Lures, which you place at Pokestop to lure out many Pokemon at once, this Lure not only brings Pokemon but it also brings lots of kids,

Also be aware of these things in the game called Lures, which you place at Pokestop to lure out many Pokemon at once, this Lure not only brings Pokemon but it also brings all the kids, you can buy Lures, so you don’t have to be someone that is playing the game, you can download the game for free and literally Lure kids to you.  I don’t want to be a kill joy – I think its a great game, and great for kids, and also for adults but we need to keep up with the dangers, permissions we allow and especially our safety.

Its in all the news that the NSPCC wanted the release delayed – the Dailymail said – Pokemon Go is a gateway for paedophiles Claims NSPCC – aparently the NSPCC are in contact with Niantic.

So back to permissions – the permissions are very similar to those from a similar game called Ingress, which isn’t at all strange as this was also created by Niantic – and has been around for 2 years, and we’ve not seen any problems with however its not really kids.

Permissions, Privacy and Safety – Pokemon Go

So to start off with, once you have downloaded your game in order for it to play you need to.

Let it look at your contacts

Let it know your location

Modify and delete contents of your storage

Prevent the phone from sleeping !




After many complaints Niantic realised that full access to your Google account wasn’t needed.  So that seems to have been changed to access to basic account information. 

You can check yours here – it should have changed froand also see what else has full access to your Google account too. 

I’m hoping that there will be many updates over the next few days.


And then we have the PokemonGo privacy policy which states that it collects information about you or your child – such as user name and messages sent to other users

During game play we will collect certain information, such as your (or your authorized child’s) user name and messages sent to other users.

We collect certain information that your (or your authorized child’s) mobile device sends when you (or your authorized child) use our Services, like a device identifier, user settings, and the operating system of your (or your authorized child’s) device, as well as information about your use of our Services while using the mobile device. We may use this information to provide the Services and to improve and personalize our Services for you (or your authorized child).

They collect and store information about your or your child’s location, of course, this has to happen as you are sending your location to them so that they can show you where the items are, but this information is also shared with other users.

Location Information.

The App is a location based game. We collect and store information about your (or your authorized child’s) location when you (or your authorized child) use our App and take game actions that use the location services made available through your (or your authorized child’s) device’s mobile operating system, which makes use of cell/mobile tower triangulation, wifi triangulation, and/or GPS. You understand and agree that by using our App you (or your authorized child) will be transmitting your (or your authorized child’s) device location to us and some of that location information, along with your (or your authorized child’s) user name, may be shared through the App. For example, when you take certain actions during gameplay, your (or your authorized child’s) user name and location may be shared through the App with other users who are playing the game. We may also use location information to improve and personalize our Services for you (or your authorized child).

Information is not private it MAY be shared with third Parties

We may share aggregated information and non-identifying information with third parties for research and analysis, demographic profiling, and other similar purposes. This information will not include your (or your authorized child’s) PII.

Some people can stop some of this collection,  but it seems the information they already have they can keep or send it to third parties.


Parents may request and obtain access to PII stored about their children who are under the age of 13 by contacting us at If you want us to modify or delete your (or your authorized child’s) PII and/or your (or your authorized child’s) Account, or discontinue the provision of your (or your authorized child’s) PII to third parties, please contact us at with your request. We’ll take steps to modify or delete your (or your authorized child’s) information as soon we can (unless otherwise permitted by applicable law). Please note, however, that some information may remain in archived/backup copies for our records or as otherwise required by law.

Following termination or deactivation of your (or your authorized child’s) Account, Niantic, its clients, affiliates, or service providers may retain information (including your (or your authorized child’s) profile information) and user content for a commercially reasonable time period for backup, archival, and/or audit purposes. If you have any questions about termination or deactivation of your (or your authorized child’s) Account, please contact us directly at


Just make sure you read these permissions, take them in, look at what your kids are doing on the app, be safe.

Twitter and BBM involvement in UK riots

Riots that started in London have now spread to other British cities, such as Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, Nottingham and Manchester.

It has been said that networks such as Facebook, Twitter and BBM have helped organise some of the riots.  Police say that the main culprit however is BBM; BlackBerrys Messenger service as it is/was thought that messages cannot be traced, although Blackberry have said that they will help police to trace people which is a little confusing?

I am surprised that if the police felt so strongly that BBM was to blame for the start of the London Riots that it still hasn’t been blocked, or shut down. Or is it now because now they have Blackberry to help track people, police want the looters to use it.

I assume though that police will see from phone records of those arrested, who those people have been contacted by or contacted to arrange the meet ups, via text or BBM.

I do believe that Twitter has been detrimental to the riots, but from a small minority of people,  mostly people thought they were helping.  Suffice to say that although this messaging didn’t help it certainly wasn’t the cause.

I did notice some strange tweets that could have been said to have been organising locations, from kids that had obviously just signed up to twitter. One particular tweet I contacted the Rt’r who uses the hashtag #croydon to retweet and sent the message to spam. Other messages with false information on riots being retweeted by others that thought it was actually happening.  It could be that looters turned up there to see what was going on, and it started from there.  This can be said of a lot rioted area’s.   Apart from that, there is a lot of rubbish being tweeted on twitter at the moment about UKriots; hit spam and don’t RT.

Please do not spread false rumours !

Obviously the real information on Twitter was very important for many people, we had live news of road closures and what places to avoid.  The main message  here is don’t re-tweet anything unless its 100% confirmed, its not helping its harming.   Even the police are putting this message out to users now.

The news isn’t all bad for Twitter though – since the start of this there has been a clean up operation organised though the hash tag #riotcleanup  or @riotcleanup which was the brain child of Dan Thompson from Worthing. This clean up operation has taken off so well, with Tweeters rushing out to help clean up our cities, it has now got the attention of the media and celebrities are even involved.

Facebook has  helped by first a looter proudly showing his loot on his profile pic – and secondly by police or users posting videos or photographs of looters or rioters, one already turned himself in after seeing himself in one of these videos.

Also the police are now all over twitter, giving out information and advice and more importantly posting videos and pictures of looters asking the Twitter community if they know who these people are, which everyone is sharing.

For the best information on UK riots and how to help –  follow the police on Twitter, don’t believe all the tweets you read.  Follow @metpoliceuk  @GMpolice @sussex_police @essexpoliceUK @northants999  @lancspolice to find your local police on Twitter a good way it to type in google police “area” twitter

Remember, don’t spread false rumours, its important.

Hope this helps