Pokemon GO, the craze that swept the Internet and prompted people to head outdoors, granted Nintendo and Pokemon GO game creator Niantic Labs full and unfettered access to your entire Google account if you signed up on an iOS device.
True, users confirmed this access when they installed this app on their Android or iOS device -- but did they really know what they were agreeing to before they rushed out the door to hunt Pokemon?
On iOS devices that answer is a resounding no.
Full permissions to your Google account, based on Google's support site, is summarized as follows:
"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)."
On a practical level, that means users gave Niantic and Ninento access to anything they had in their Gmail, calendar and photos -- and that's just for starters. Technically, it could include private information as well such as non-public photos and calendar items.
It should not be much of a surprise that this arrangement has been made because Pokemon GO was built by Niantic Labs for Nintendo. If the name "Niantic Labs" sounds familiar, they used to be part of Google.
This does not necessarily mean Niantic and Nintendo will siphon off all of that personal data you just gave them access to. But it is a handy reminder that you should always be aware of the level of access you are granting an app and who's getting it.
When I installed and logged into the Pokemon GO app on an iPad using my Google account, it took me through the normal process to sign-in but did not show me the expected permissions so I could agree to the level of access before entering the app.
As an alternative to using your Google Account there is an option to create a Pokemon Trainer Club account. I was unable to fully test this process because it was unavailable due to overwhelming demand for the service.
NOTE: It appears Android users are not seeing this same issue because they are being presented the permissions verification screen during sign up so they can adjust the level of access for the game.
If you granted Google full permissions through the Pokemon GO app on iOS or Android, this gallery will show you how to revoke those permissions.