9

This question already has an answer here:

I had the game but got nervous about traveling to catch Pokemon because of other people knowing where I am. I will get the game again but I want to know if this is true or not first.

Can Pokemon Go give your location to complete strangers?

marked as duplicate by Wrigglenite, BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft, angussidney, MBraedley, Ullallulloo Jul 11 '16 at 1:53

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • 1
    @DanmakuGrazer, the other question specifically asks if you can see other players, specifically on the map interface. This question asks of anyone can access your location, regardless of how. – user106385 Jul 10 '16 at 22:38
  • For all possible issues, there are far safer precautions. Do not feel like you can not play the game, because of this. A bit of online saftey, and your all good. Infact, from all I have seen, Pokemon Go is more secure than facebook. They also accept users under 13 years (providing parental consent), so the company has to be especially protective of all user data, by law. – user106385 Jul 11 '16 at 1:09
10

There are instances where someone can associate your in-game name with you personally - for example, you observe someone standing next to the location of a "Gym", with no one else around, and the gym suddenly changes teams, or has a new Pokémon added - you can see the in-game character name that effected the change, and that person who is the only human within 50 yards of the spot is very likely that in-game character. But this isn't that big of a deal - I mean, you're already standing in public staring at that person, who is physically nearby. The game doesn't much affect your/their personal safety in that circumstance.

Edited to add: a similar slightly-remote-Intel situation works with Lure modules: one can see who placed a lure module on a PokéStop while the lure module is active (tap on the PokéStop, tap on the little white/pink lozenge that indicates the module is in place, and you'll get a detail screen listing the trainer name of the person who installed the module). This can be used to associate an in-game name with an actual person (as with gyms, mentioned above), if only one person is physically near the PokéStop when it lights up. It can also be used to detect people from a distance, given that the in-game display shows quite a few blocks of territory on-screen. From my living room I can see a very popular park several blocks away (there are four PokéStops in a tight square formation) - if I see a PokéStop light up with a fresh lure module, I can check the associated trainer name on the PokéStop. If I know who that trainer is in real life, I have also learned where they were a moment ago. So, in that sense, the game can reveal your location to others.

  • We know that Pokemon Go borrows from Ingress, but information specific to mechanics that are exclusive to ingress are unhelpful and confusing. – user106385 Jul 11 '16 at 0:13
  • 1
    So noted. Latter two potentially confusing paragraphs edited out. – CarlRJ Jul 11 '16 at 1:14
  • Updated with information about the visibility implications of lure modules. – CarlRJ Jul 20 '16 at 23:28
9

At present, probably not, but mobile phones are not 100% secure1, and there are a few minor situations where your location could be guessed.

There are two particular situations where your location could be given to a complete stranger: accessing gyms, or otherwise allowing a stranger to access your game, directly.

It is also worth addressing the fact that Niantic Labs confirm that it might be shared, in the future. In fact, you acknowledge and agree to this, when you sign the terms and conditions to create your game account.

Gyms

When you take over a gym, your player icon is shown, above the gym. If we were to make the assumption that you happen to pass that gym enough to defend it, we could infer that you live/work/go to school nearby. We could assume that we would run in to you, by frequenting the area. If the assumptions are true, the user would still have to deliberately know your username, in order to specifically identify you as the trainer.

As previously mentioned, if a user is watching the gym as you take it over, they would be able to assume you were within close proximity. Your proximity circle extends to 40m, so that still gives them a 80m area to work with. It would be especially difficult to locate you in a crowded area, and this is not really an issue you should be worried about.

Accessing your game directly through your phone

While outside the exact context you provide, if a stranger was able to physically obtain your phone and access your game, they could see some of your location data.

Catch location for a Pinsir

Whenever you catch a Pokémon, the location is saved, and is view-able when you select that specific Pokémon. If a stranger picked up your phone, and looked at your Pokémon locations, they would be able to determine locations where you most likely frequent. If we assume that you would most likely have one or two Pokémon caught near your house, you can see that this might have the potential to cause concern.

Even with the small chance that somebody would pick up your phone, and even think to access your Pokémon locations, there is a simple solution. If you have any concern of this happening, simply lock your phone with a pin or password. You also want to consider that your overall objective is to not lose your phone, in the first place, and that other applications you use may be more dangerous in the same situation, to begin with.

Niantic's Acknowledgement

It is always important to pay attention to what the actual developers have to say, in how they handle your user information. While it addresses a lot more, you can read the Pokemon Go privacy policy for more information. I will include some choice quotes on a couple of topics, below:

Pokémon GO Privacy Policy
Last Updated: July 1, 2016

1. REVISIONS TO THIS PRIVACY POLICY
"ANY INFORMATION THAT IS COLLECTED VIA OUR SERVICES IS COVERED BY THE PRIVACY POLICY IN EFFECT AT THE TIME SUCH INFORMATION IS COLLECTED"

2. COLLECTION AND USE OF INFORMATION
ii. Gameplay Information.
"During game play we will collect certain information, such as your (or your authorized child’s) user name and messages sent to other users. This information will not allow others to identify you (or your authorized child) unless you (or your authorized child) choose to use your (or your authorized child’s) real name and other identifying information."
e. Location Information.
"The App is a location based game. We collect and store information about your (or your authorized child’s) location when you (or your authorized child) use our App and take game actions that use the location services made available through your (or your authorized child’s) device’s mobile operating system, which makes use of cell/mobile tower triangulation, wifi triangulation, and/or GPS. You understand and agree that by using our App you (or your authorized child) will be transmitting your (or your authorized child’s) device location to us and some of that location information, along with your (or your authorized child’s) user name, may be shared through the App. For example, when you take certain actions during gameplay, your (or your authorized child’s) user name and location may be shared through the App with other users who are playing the game. We may also use location information to improve and personalize our Services for you (or your authorized child)."

10. Questions?
"Please contact us at pokemongo-privacy@nianticlabs.com if you have any questions about our Privacy Policy"

1 For two examples, Facebook will (by default) log your location, and submit it with messages. If you message anybody with geo-tagging enabled, they will be able to view your GPS location at the time of sending the message. So will anybody that later views the message on your side, including you. In contrast (in terms of difficulty), the Samsung keyboard app had a security issue that has since been found and fixed. As a result, anybody could access your phone through a fake application update, and have access to anything on your phone - including your location. Nothing is 100% secure, in computer application, but common sense is usually your best protection.

1

Players of Pokémon GO cannot see the location of other players in the game. Your location is kept private.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.