Even though the pandemic kept most people indoors, Pokémon Go still managed to make around two billion dollars. It’s a testament to how good the game is if it managed to continue being popular at a time when people were supposed to be locked indoors and spend as less time as possible outside.
Well, Pokémon Go is in the spotlight again – but this time it’s not thanks to how good it is. Instead, it’s due to some recent updates that were met with very negative feedback. Players were upset about the annoying new bugs and even the fact that the game could now give you seizures.
Besides that, Pokémon Go comes with other privacy concerns which people are worried about.
Here Are Pokémon Go’s Main Privacy Issues
According to our researcher, what Pokémon Go players have been saying on Reddit, and what our readers have told us, these are the main concerns:
- Pokémon Go can allow toxic players to locate your approximate home’s location. By using gifts, they can use a map link to see the exact location of a Pokéstop. If it happens to be near you, they can determine the area where you live. If it’s a stalker, you don’t need us to tell you why that’s dangerous.
- Pokémon Go collects a lot of personal datafrom you – contact information, geo-location data, postal address, phone number, and uploaded and shared content. The game’s developers (Niantic) can share this data with third parties or use it for targeted advertising.
Can You Stop Pokémon Go from Compromising Your Privacy?
You’re not going to like this answer – basically, no. Your only option is to stop playing the game, really. Otherwise, there’s not much you can do to stop the app from collecting personal data from you or from sharing geo-location data other players through the gifting system.
Sure, you could use a VPN – or any other tool that hides your geo-location. This service hides your IP address, so Niantic’s app shouldn’t be able to collect your location information anymore. Also, the VPN encrypts your traffic, so Pokémon Go can’t log it, right?
Unfortunately, things aren’t that simple. Even if you use a VPN, Pokémon Go can still determine what your geo-location is. It’s because it uses your phone’s GPS data, which the VPN can’t hide.
Oh, and the VPN encrypts your traffic, but it can’t stop Pokémon Go from seeing your email address or phone number. You willingly share that information with the app when you sign up, after all.
Plus, it’s not a good idea to use VPNs with this game at all. It will slow down your speeds, but that’s not all – it can also get you banned! If you check Niantic’s player guidelines, you’ll see that it’s against the rules to use a VPN. Why? Because they consider that to be cheating.
A VPN clearly fits that definition as it “falsifies your location.”
Can You at least Secure Your Pokémon Go Account?
Yes, it’s possible to do that – plus it’s very easy too!
To start out, you should come up with a very strong password. Ditch the short one-word passwords, and use these tips to create a really good one:
- Make it very long – at least 12-13 characters long.
- Use lowercase and uppercase letters at random intervals.
- If possible, add space characters.
- Randomly add special characters in the mix.
- Don’t forget about the numbers!
If you have a hard time coming up with a good password, try this: think of a long sentence and use the first letter of each word (and number) to create your password.
So let’s use this phrase for example: Dennis has been going to the World Cup every year with Jim since 2015 when he was 15 years old.
The password would look like this: DhbgttWCeywJs2whw1yo.
On top of that, you should also change your password every few months, not use the same password for each account, and store it somewhere safe (a notebook or in a password manager).
Here are other ways to secure your Pokémon Go account:
- Never share your login credentials with someone else.
- Don’t try to trade your account or buy an account. It’s against the rules and you’ll likely end up banned or scammed.
- Avoid third-party tools and only use the official Pokémon Go app (iOSand Android). If you use third-party tools, you might get banned because Niantic thinks it’s cheating. Also, some third-party tools aren’t safe to use and they might infect your device with malware.
Think Your Account Might Have Been Compromised?
In that case, reset your password as soon as possible. Also, check the whitelisted login methods. If you see one that you don’t recognize, remove it (a hacker likely added it).
Do You Think Pokémon Go Is Safe to Use or Not?
What’s your opinion on this game? Does it offer good security or are you worried about your privacy? What methods do you take to stay safe? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.