The newly-released Pokémon GO app has prompted many to go outside in order to fulfill their childhood fantasies. Everywhere you look, you’re almost sure to find somebody perusing a street corner or navigating through a public park. However, the revitalization of the Pokémon brand comes with some unforeseen complications.
This application allows lifelong fans of the animated show or game to catch virtual Pokémon with their smartphones in real world settings. Most are aware that the app tracks users’ location (tons of top apps utilize this feature) as GPS tracking is a fundamental aspect of the game. We are seemingly okay with that. However, Pokémon GO also requires users to either log into their Google accounts or a Pokémon Club account in order to begin navigating the semi-virtual reality world.
For the purposes of the game, this sensitive information is absolutely unnecessary. There’s no function that a personal email chain can serve in catching an elusive Pocket Monster. Niantic could potentially leverage this private information for its own financial benefit.
This leaves consumers at a crossroads. Does their affinity for the game outweigh their fear of a mishandling of personal information? It seems as though a majority of the players are aware that Niantic collects sensitive data, like phone contacts, but still opt to open the app. No matter what corporations do that infringe on our rights, people still consume the product regardless of the consequences.To most consumers, the privacy violations are a necessary evil that allows them entry into the revamped world of Pokémon.
Pokémon GO has utilized its brand as a means to store users’ private information. Although such acts are clearly problematic, the raging popularity of the game trumps the potential repercussions. The way things are looking now, these third party companies won’t need to search for our personal information nearly as hard as we’re looking for Pokémon.