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Emily Baines
July 12, 2016 3:48 pm

Though it was released less than a week ago, Pokémon Go is the game of the summer. The game for Android and iPhones topped the U.S. App Store’s top grossing list less than 24 hours after its release. You can’t go to a park without running into people of all ages hunting a Charmeleon or one of the other 150 original Pokémon. Pokémon Go is everywhere.

At first, Pokémon Go was heralded as a great invention: After all, what other video game encourages users to walk and play outside? But, as with all things met with universal acclaim, the naysayers spoke up immediately. And what they had to say was terrifying: Basically, that by signing up to play Pokémon Go, you were giving Niantic (the company behind Pokémon Go) complete access to your personal information.

It seems the story first broke when on Reddit when former Tumblr engineer Adam Reeve wrote in a blog post that by using your Google account to play Pokémon Go, you’re giving the company “full account access.” As Reddit user Homer_Simpson_Doh pointed out, the game’s privacy policy was “very Orwellian.”

This part of the privacy policy specifically upset users:

As TechCrunch explained, Pokémon-loving players are far less likely to object to a few extra permissions when Squirtle is staring them in the face.

What followed was mass panic: Was Pokémon Go just the intelligence agency’s excuse to watch us and upload photos of our homes and streets to a major Big Brother-esque database?

The people wanted answers, tweeting their concerns. Even celebrities got involved:

The world panicked: By playing this fun game, were we basically dooming ourselves to forever remaining trapped in The Matrix?

The answer: No.

Niantic recently released a statement in an attempt to soothe our anxieties:

While the game does have far more access to our personal data than is necessary, Niantic claims that while they are working on a fix for the game to only request the correct permission, Google will reduce Pokémon Go’s access on its end ‘soon.’

Let’s just hope Google and Niantic keep their promise! Until then, I’m off to hunt down some Zubats.

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