While Pokémon Go has skyrocketed in popularity, the augmented reality mobile game is still bereft with issues.
The problems gamers are experiencing include missing coins and items, quickly drained battery life, malfunctioning GPS and sporadic servers.
Adam Reeve, Red Owl Analytics' principal architect, flagged another possible issue with the mobile app in a post on his Tumblr account.
Reeve narrates that playing Pokémon Go requires users to have either a Pokemon.com account or a Google account. The Pokemon website, however, is currently not accepting new sign-ups, which means that some users resort to logging in the game using their Google accounts.
Upon signing in, Reeve checked the permissions granted to the app. The words that greeted him were "Pokémon Go has full access to your Google account," which is a disconcerting message to say the least.
Reeve found that with full account access, apps will be able to view and change almost all the information on a Google account, which means Pokémon Go and its developer Niantic could do things such as read all the user's emails, access the user's documents on Google Drive, and many more.
According to Reeve, the granted permissions only work for certain users on iOS devices, but not for all iOS users.
However, said that he was not completely sure of his claims. Trail of Bits CEO and cybersecurity expert Dan Guido added that he seriously doubted Reeve's claims, as a Google tech support agent told him that "full account access" does not necessarily mean that Pokémon Go or Niantic could do the things Reeve said they could do.
Before the controversy got out of hand, Niantic released an official statement ending the speculation of a privacy issue on the iOS version of Pokémon Go.
According to the developer, the request to fully access a user's Google account on iOS devices is erroneous, and that Pokémon Go only accesses the basic profile information of users. Specifically, this information is only the user's ID and email address.
Niantic has now asked Google to fix the app's permissions to only reflect the request for basic Google profile data and verify that Pokémon Go and Niantic could not access or receive any other information.
Turns out it was just a case of misinterpretation on Reeve's part of what "full access" means, though it is an understandable reaction due to the multitude of privacy exploits going around these days.
While this privacy problem turned out to be a non-issue, Pokémon Go gamers are now hoping that the rest of the problems they're experiencing will soon receive a fix.