July 12, 2016

The suddenly extremely popular phone game Pokémon Go can "see and modify nearly all information in your Google account."

"[I]f you played the game on an iPhone and signed in with your Google account, you also just handed the keys to your entire Google account to Niantic, the developer behind the game," and "nothing in the sign up process indicates that you're giving the app full access to your account."

But the company says it didn't mean to request all this access and is working to fix it. (I feel like I should make some snarky Hillary joke before you do.)

On the popularity of the game, here's a NYT article:
[One player's mother] especially loves one of the rules of the game. It requires users to walk around to achieve certain rewards and uses a pedometer to ensure compliance.

“She doesn’t realize she’s getting so much exercise,” Mr. Cann said. “She’s just playing Pokémon.”

Whether exercising or gaming, players need to know where they are. When a trainer opens the Pokémon Go app a warning appears: “Remember to be alert at all times. Stay aware of your surroundings.”
It's getting indoorsy people out of the house, apparently, but there's a danger that they may get hit by a truck. Everyone's out and about but inside a game and looking in part at the real world but focused on chasing illusions. But then, aren't we all?

29 comments:

Derek Kite said...

No, actually. If I wander around in a daze of self delusion some piece of equipment will kill me.

Titus said...

They are on the streets here everywhere. I was on the subway this morning and half my car was on the app. They are like packs of nerd gangs.

It is only a matter of time before someone gets run over.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I'd like to live long enough to see people no longer beginning sentences with "[t]o be clear."

coupe said...

About six teens were arrested in St Louis recently and are accused of luring people to a location and then robbing them.

rehajm said...

More reality-video game convergence.

Curious George said...

"Everyone's out and about but inside a game and looking in part at the real world but focused on chasing illusions. But then, aren't we all?"

Ah, no.

Paddy O said...

humanity thrives on a good quest.

Henry said...

My son plays. He texts me to say "pick me up at the library." I go to pick him up and he's not there. He's two blocks away following his phone around.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

To be clear, two of my kids are playing it. I would probably enjoy it, having played older version with my kids many years ago. ( Gold and Silver, Ruby and Sapphire ) But I know it would turn into a huge time suck, and I don't want to get hooked on it.

Matthew Sablan said...

I mainly play it when walking from place to place.

Paddy O said...

"Everyone's out and about but inside a game and looking in part at the real world but focused on chasing illusions. But then, aren't we all?"

When most people consider the definition of religion, they think it has to involve a deity of some kind, or other supernatural elements. But this isn't really the case. It's pretty clear with even a basic understanding of the various world religions (and local ones) that a deity isn't necessarily required.

What religions do seem to have in common is an agreement about this quote. Religions propose a different way of looking at reality, trying to move past the illusions, and live in a way that is in tune with the really real. What is the illusion? What is the truth? Religions differ on how they answer these questions. Some overlap answers on the first while providing different paths of the other. Like the Abrahamic religions. Others have a linked approach in the second, while arguing for very different understanding of the first. Like the various Hindu related religions.

Almost all have more to do with a conception of what it means to be human, what is our purpose and goal and path. A lot of religious beliefs in our era aren't categorized as religious because they're not following one of the traditional religions, but it's very clear the assumptions really are very much religious in nature. What does it mean to be truly myself? What does it mean to thrive? The world, my very body, might give me some answers, but those are illusions. Only I know the truth. So a lot of people say. And think they're being non-religious.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

The reality is that we perceive objects as solid, not empty space, because of the electromagnetic force.

Laslo Spatula said...

The Man in the White Van With No Windows In The Back says...

This Game is The. Best. Thing. Ever.

Young girls, walking around oblivious and pre-occupied, eyes on their phone, giddy.

All you have to do is pull up to one and show that you are playing The Game, too!

And you know of a Place with Great Scores to be had -- in fact, you were just on your way to driving there!

Hey! I got an Idea! Do you want to come along? It'll be Fun!

And afterwards you can sell her iPhone and make a little spare change.

The. Best. Thing. Ever.

I am Laslo.

Mary Beth said...

Team Valor!

It's great. I can almost always get someone to take a walk with me now. There are very few conversations about politics, or worse, conversations where everyone's trying to avoid talking about politics. Now it's, "I think there's a Tauros down the street!".

Sydney said...

My son told me about this game on Sunday, and since then it seems I am running into references to it everywhere. My husband and I took a walk in the woods that afternoon and ran into a young man playing the game. Someone on Facebook posted the story about people being lured by thieves using the app yesterday. This morning there was a story about the game on the front page of our newspaper and now I see it on Althouse. Myself, I think the game could make a great basis for a Stephen King novel. A population controlled by an evil group/presence using a smart phone game.

Nonapod said...

The 3+ hour video game podcast I listen to every week (the Giant Bombcast) spent about 2 or 3 minutes discussing it last week. They seemed pretty unimpressed. It certainly doesn't seem that interesting to me, but I suspect as an old school gamer I'm an outlier. Although I do find its explosive popularity fascinating as possibly the first augmented reality killer app.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I hope some digital marketing agency is getting ready to bathe in money as they convert all the data these people are collecting, as they literally film every step of their homes/neighborhoods/communities, into microtargeted advertising.

damikesc said...

The 3+ hour video game podcast I listen to every week (the Giant Bombcast) spent about 2 or 3 minutes discussing it last week. They seemed pretty unimpressed. It certainly doesn't seem that interesting to me, but I suspect as an old school gamer I'm an outlier. Although I do find its explosive popularity fascinating as possibly the first augmented reality killer app.

Giant Bomb went down the shitter when Davis died. It has become brutal to deal with the podcast or site. Rest assured, if it had a "socially relevant" story, they'd be gung-ho for it (they were fond of "Gone Home", which is about as bad a walking simulator as you'll find).

All of the concerns about the damage caused by a game are humorous considering that these same fools dealt with fears about the damage caused by music.

ALP said...

I work in downtown Seattle and frequently walk a mile long trek between train station and the office. I don't own a smart phone, which means I am much more aware of my surroundings.

I often wonder if I'll ever witness the following: person absorbed by smart phone as they walk across the street mowed down by motorist turning the corner as they are texting. A perfect shitstorm of lack of attention.

ALP said...

BTW: I did all my Pokemon "gathering" playing South Park's "Stick of Truth".

ALP said...

I overheard a man say a boy in his neighborhood spied a Pokemon in the dude's back yard. Boy was asking permission to enter yard to capture said Pokemon. This made me wonder how many people are willing to trespass in pursuit. I was surprised to find the app could place Pokemons on private property.

Birches said...

We went to the park last night to play, before sundown. There were a lot of kids playing, no one dangerously.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Guns 'n Roses aren't chasing illusions, they use them, and ask of you the same.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Use_Your_Illusion_I

MayBee said...

I don't play it but I love everything about it.

mikee said...

I, for one, look forward to the selling of sponsorships to companies, local governments, and even individual rapist pedophiles allowing the capture of specific pokemons at the McDonald's, police department, or murder site of the sponsor's choice.

Sigivald said...

ALP said I was surprised to find the app could place Pokemons on private property. .

You can typically capture them from a good 50 feet away, easily, so it's not typically an issue in the 'burbs, etc.

The system really has little way to know what's private property for real vs. a business that's happy to have visitors who might spend some money (some places here in Portland are using in-game mechanics to attract customers to sit and eat/drink while they play...) vs. public property.

It's not much of a really serious issue, that I can see.

(Per other comments up-thread, "situational awareness is not optional".

Don't blindly walk around reading Facebook, checking your music settings ... or playing Pokemon.

It's nothing new, just exposing "people are dumb and don't pay attention" more thoroughly.)

buwaya said...

My boy has set his account to attract Pokemon, so we have them snooping around inside the house now. I think he caught one by the fireplace.

Maybe there's a spray or something.

Mary Beth said...

Buwaya, some pokemon will spawn automatically near a player, even inside, but players can also use in-game incense to attract them for 30 minutes at a time. You get some free when you reach certain levels but you can also purchase it (with real money). Just a heads up, in case the purchasing might be coming out of your account.

Freeman Hunt said...

I have no interest in this app, but that's a good indicator that it's popular and will have longevity.