The ugly truth about Pokemon Go and your data usage.

The world is enraptured with a bunch of small invisible creatures perched on desktops and sitting in parks.

If you’re late to the Pokemon Go bandwagon I’ll give you a quick rundown:

It’s the game that requires kiddies (and adults – let’s be real, mostly adults) to explore the real world if they want to fill their pockets with more invisible creatures.

The game has been getting a lot of hype and a lot of scrutiny too as users say it chews through data allocation like a log in a wood chipper.

Serious fomo right now.. when is Pokemon Go launching in Asia?! ???? #寵物小精靈

A photo posted by *Elaine Li???? (@lielaine) on

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The official website for PokemonGo estimates usage will be around 2-8 megabytes of data per hour.

This seems like a relatively low amount – but many users say otherwise.

A writer on gaming website Feenix Bazaar tested the usage and said an hour of gameplay consumed roughly 20 megabytes.

“On Vodafone’s 4G network in Melbourne, Australia, I consume roughly 20MB of data for an hour of play,” they said.

As a gal who spent a large portion of her childhood catching Pokemon, I ignored these warnings and downloaded the app as soon as word of its existence passed down my grapevine.

Source: Supplied.

I watched in envy as one friend posted status after status about her poke-journey across Melbourne. I watched her level up, beat gyms and capture all the Pokemon my desk job prevented me from seeing.

And then she deleted it.

She said after one night of poke-binging she lost her house keys, developed a cold, was locked out from her Gmail account and used half her data for the month despite only being seven days in.

"POKÉMON GO IS NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED. 24 hours ago I packed my backpack, put on a pair of trainers and baseball cap and left the house on a quest to become the very best that no one ever was," she said.

"Received a message from Optus saying I've used half my data for the month."

Source: Supplied.

There are only a few things more terrifying than a message from your provider saying you have used 95% of your data with 10 days to go.

I would know. Telstra messages me almost as much as my mother does.

Source: Supplied.

 

Even the Police are onto Pokemon Go... but perhaps for different reasons...

Video via Sunrise

In addition to eating your data, it turns out Pokemon Go is also collecting it.

As per its privacy policy, the apps developer, Niantic is allowed to collect your email address, IP address, web page information, the locations you visit, the transport or routes that you travel and times spent in specific locations unless specifically set otherwise. And if your email address is hosted by Gmail they can also access your entire account (think emails, Google Drive docs, Calendar and more).

Pokemon Go? More like Pokemon NO.

From there, they're able to share that information with other parties and providers, where your personal information may be used for “research and analysis, demographic profiling, and other similar purposes.”

The Google help page explains what level of access Pokemon Go now has to a user’s personal information.

“When you grant full account access, the application can see and modify nearly all information in your Google Account (but it can’t change your password, delete your account, or pay with Google Wallet on your behalf),” it said.

Google recommended users only allow this level of access to trusted applications.

“If you’ve granted full account access to an app you don’t trust or recognise, we recommend that you revoke this permission by clicking the Revoke access button,” Google wrote.

Niantic has responded with a statement that says the request for this level of access is a mistake.

"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 e-mail address) and no other Google account information is or has been accessed or collected."

The company said it was working on fixing this error so users would only have their basic profile data taken.

"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." 

The impact of these statements might be lost in a bit of techno mumbo-jumbo but because no other major location-based apps (Tinder, Foursquare, etc) collect this level of information, Pokemon Go is essentially the most detailed location-based app in the world.

Smile and wave to the hackers, people. Smile and wave.

 

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