Pokémon GO: Virtual And Real-World Concerns

by Malavika Subramanyan    Jul 13, 2016


In the wake of Pokémon GO mania that’s hit the world in the last two weeks, I’d like to take a moment to request everyone to please put their phones down and take a moment. Just a moment to breathe, and evaluate how safe you’re keeping yourself while following what, for many, has been a dream since their age was in the single digits.

On July 8, researcher Adam Reeve raised concerns regarding the fact that users who sign into the app via a Google Account are often inadvertently granting broad permissions over all information linked to the account- email, contacts, everything. Furthermore, at no point in the process does the app notify users that they’re granting full access. Reeve drew attention to this issue in a Tumblr post.

Six researchers from The Verge were able to confirm Reeve’s allegations, although the behaviour across Android phones was found to be inconsistent.

Soon after, Niantic issued a statement to The Verge promising to fix this serious security flaw. Sure enough, Pokémon GO for iOS has received an update (version 1.0.1) that provides more stability against crashes, and provides a less intrusive hold on Google Accounts permissions. The permission request screen will now look something like this:


Image via Twitter (@Wario64)

The updated app is live on the App Store.


Image via Twitter (@Wario64)

Niantic is still working on an Android update. Looks like we’ll have to wait a little longer.

But that’s not all. Real-world safety is still an issue. Police have issued cautionary notices about robbers who prey on avid trainers at PokéStops- places where large numbers of Pokémon gather, and therefore, so do many players intent on catching them.

While you’re determined to catch that Squirtle or Bulbasaur or Pidgey, please take a second (more than a second) to scan your surroundings and make sure you’re safe. Your safety takes precedence over a Pidgey (and seriously, Pidgeys are everywhere).

Also, don’t trespass.

Like, see, this might sound funny on tumblr-


Image via Tumblr (devilishstyles99)

but it’s not that funny in reality. The guard isn’t going to let you off and/or join you in the hunt. He’s going to bring you in for trespassing. So don’t do the trespassing thing.

In a post on its official Facebook page, the Goochland Sheriff’s Office links a rise in reports of trespassing and suspicious activity subsequent to the release of the popular Pokemon Go game.


Image via Facebook

Yeah, so clearly, it’s not cute. Don’t do it.

Just follow these wise words from Ash Ketchum, the voice of reason.

Veronica Taylor Facebook

Image via Facebook