Amid revelations that the popular PokÃ©mon Go game for iPhone offers universal access to Google accounts, Google and Niantic have said that user emails and other sensitive data are not being harvested, and that a pair of fixes are incoming.
Early Monday, analytics firm architect Adam Reeve claimed that installing PokÃ©mon Go and using a Google account to play the game granted full access to linked accounts on both Android and iOS, without informing the user. Apps with universal permissions, according to Google Play, "can see and modify nearly all information in your Google Account" but "can't change your password, delete your account, or pay with Google Wallet on your behalf."
The Google Play store is more transparent than the iOS App Store is for this title regarding what the app can access. On the PokÃ©mon Go page, the title is listed as having "full network access" and access to "accounts on the device."
Practically, full account access could allow developer Niantic the ability to peruse emails, send emails on behalf of the user, contacts, photos, and any other information stored by a Google account. Simple work-arounds exist, such as creating a PokÃ©mon Account when the servers recover, revoking full permission from the title which has caused crashing of the game, or using a temporary throw-away account to play.
"PokÃ©mon Go only accesses basic Google profile information (specifically, your User ID and email address) and no other Google account information is or has been accessed or collected," Niantic said in a statement.
As a response, Niantic is implementing a client-side fix for PokÃ©mon Go to request permission for only basic Google profile information, corresponding to what the company claims that it is accessing. Niantic also notes that partner Google will soon reduce access permission to only basic data from the server-side as well. No timetable for either fix has been announced.
PokÃ©mon Gowas developed as a joint effort between Niantic and Nintendo, and first launched on iPhone last week. The title continues to hold the top spots on the iOS charts. The game is said to be generating between $3.9 million and $4.8 million per day worldwide.
Apple is even said to be earning more from iOS players than Nintendo is collecting directly, as part of a complex business arrangement involving the PokÃ©mon intellectual property.