Everyone’s been trying to catch ’em all and no one has been reading the fine print. Yesterday the entire Internet realized they had basically given Niantic, the company behind Pokemon Go, full access to their Google accounts. This included read/write permissions to e-mails, Google docs and whatever attachments were inside your account.
This news was particularly disheartening because Niantic didn’t even ask permission of iOS users. It just happened when you signed into Pokemon Go. Most apps request only basic access to your account, unless they’re owned by Google. Google does have some apps that require full access, but it’s almost unheard of for an outside party.
As upsetting as it may seem that you’ve just handed your entire life over to Niantic like a Pokemon trapped in a PokeBall, don’t freak out just yet. Niantic requested these permissions in error. The company never needed to or meant to request full access to your account. In fact, they never even actually did access anything beyond basic account information.
Niantic spoke out about the mishap and assured us they’re working on a solution. They said:
“We recently discovered that the Pokémon GO account creation process on iOS erroneously requests full access permission for the user’s Google account. However, Pokémon 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. Once we became aware of this error, we began working on a client-side fix to request permission for only basic Google profile information, in line with the data that we actually access. Google has verified that no other information has been received or accessed by Pokémon GO or Niantic. Google will soon reduce Pokémon GO’s permission to only the basic profile data that Pokémon GO needs, and users do not need to take any actions themselves.”
So there you have it. Your information is totally safe, and you can go on training in peace (well, aside from constantly running into pesky Zubats).