Individuals in the public and private sector continue to raise concerns about data privacy protections for Pokémon GO players in the wake of upgrades released on the reality game last month. The game requires access to a phone’s camera and GPS to work. It initially required full access to users’ Google accounts. Gamemaker Niantic has subsequently admitted these access rights were a mistake and has taken steps to correct the error. US Senator Al Franken of the Privacy, Technology and the Law Subcommittee has asked Niantic for information on what steps are being taken to rectify that account access error, what information the company has collected or stored, who it shares information with, and how it ensures that parents give meaningful consent to their child’s use of the app. In addition, Niantic is being sued in a class action for unfair business practices in Florida state court. The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff, a Florida gamer, unknowingly granted Niantic extensive rights to collect his Google, Facebook and other personal information by downloading the game.
The plaintiff contends that the license gives Niantic the infinite right to keep and share its users’ data, including their physical location, web history and user messages. It further alleges that Niantic may change the terms of service at any time and without notifying the user.