Significant Privacy Concerns With Pokemon Go

Pokemon_GoI was misled. I was told that everyone in the world had fallen madly in love with the new mobile app Pokemon Go. Apparently, acclaimed filmmaker Oliver Stone is one in more than a handful of people objecting to the game stating “It’s what they call totalitarianism.”

While discussing his upcoming film Snowden at San Diego Comic-Con Thursday, the JFK director spoke frankly about the game that’s enraptured millions of Americans, noting that it’s yet another tool companies such as Google can use to gather information about users.

“It’s a new level of invasion,” Stone said, according to CBS News. “Nobody has ever seen, in the history of the world, something like Google, ever. It’s the fastest-growing business ever, and they have invested huge amounts of money into what surveillance is, which is data-mining.”

“They’re data-mining every person in this room for information as to what you’re buying, what it is you like, and above all, your behavior,” Stone added.

Stone called Pokemon Go “surveillance capitalism,” calling it the “newest stage” in data mining.

“You’ll see a new form of, frankly, a robot society, where they will know how you want to behave and they will make the mockup that matches how you behave and feed you,” Stone said. “It’s what they call totalitarianism.” Once they know you want it, they can ask you for anything and they know you will give it to them, potentially compromising your security and privacy.

The amount of data these apps (and really most sites on the internet) collect from users is a cause for concern for privacy-minded individuals. Pokemon Go’s parent company Niantic, which split off from Google last year, faces a lawsuit in Germany over its lack of user-friendly privacy terms. Earlier this week, the Federation of German Consumer Organizations, which requires companies to adhere to notoriously strict guidelines when crafting privacy policies, gave the company until August 9 to change its terms. The Federation took specific issue with Niantic’s rights to sell user data to third parties.

“We think is there is not a high enough level of consent in the use of data—these extended rights of giving users’ data away to third parties in circumstances, which are not sufficiently described,” legal policy officer Heiko Dünkel told Fortune.

So while most of us stumble around trying to catch ‘em all, remember Pokemon Go and Niantic (thanks to Nintendo) might be doing the same—with your data.


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