I am sure by now you have all heard of the new game Pokémon Go, I mean who could miss it? On every social media network out there we have a frenzy of people talking about Pokémon, more so than any other game on the marker right now.
Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game that uses the player’s smartphone camera to ‘add’ Pokémon to real-world locations. But what you don’t know is that when you signed up to play it you may have unwittingly handed over access to your emails, search histories, and Google Drive data.
This new game that you are obsessed with has ties to the CIA.
The developer of the game, Niantic Inc., was founded by John Hanke, who in the past has received funding from the CIA’s venture capital firm In-Q-Tel to develop what eventually became Google Earth.
In-Q-Tel has been described as an “independent strategic investment firm that identifies innovative technology solutions to support the missions of the U.S. Intelligence Community.”
This may sound crazy, but when you think about it, it really begins to make sense. The game utilizes the player’s camera and gyroscope to display an image of a Pokémon as though it were in the real world. Places like the player’s home or workplace.
A poster on Reddit’s Conspiracy subreddit posted a reason as to why the government might have use for a mass location collecting game such as Pokémon Go:
Software such as this could theoretically turn millions of smartphone users into ‘Imperial Probe Droids’ who take real-time, ground-level footage of their cities and homes, reaching into dark alleys and basements which satellites and Google cars can’t reach.
Also as I mentioned above, when you sign up for the game you also hand over access to your emails, search histories, and Google Drive Data. Typically app developers use such approaches to make sign-up easier for players, but usually, apps only require basic information like gender, name, and email.
According to the Guardian, Niantic Labs, did not have clear messaging about what data the app would have access to and once users signed up they realized that the app has “full access” to their Google accounts, which would allow the app to read and send emails, access, edit, and delete documents in Google Drive and Google Photos, and access browser and map histories.
So maybe you should think twice before downloading the game or allowing your children to do so.