Harry Potter: Wizards Unite’ gathered location data while users slept

kltaylor
kltaylor Member, Beta Tester Posts: 1,231
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(Source)
Just. Wow.

t's no secret that games like Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and Pokémon Go track their users' locations. But it can be alarming to see just how much data companies like Niantic have. As part of an extensive report on how tech companies are mapping the worldKotaku revealed that Niantic's Wizards Unite, in particular, gathered a surprising amount of data.

Kotaku looked at 25,000 location records shared with it by 10 players of Niantic games. It found that Niantic kept about three location records per minute of Wizards Unite gameplay. That was nearly twice as many records as it kept for Pokémon Go. In one case, Niantic had at least one location record taken nearly every hour of the day. In other words, it likely swept up location data even when the user was not playing.


Click on the source link to read more about this clear invasion of privacy.

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Comments

  • Marc
    Marc Moderator, Beta Tester Posts: 2,652
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    Sometimes the most innocent of apps are the worst offenders.  So for them I offer this, the flip side on ways to prevent this...  From the NYTIMES  .
    Thats Daphnee, she's a good dog...
    VioletChepilkltaylor
  • fonix232
    fonix232 Member Posts: 6
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    My initial guess would be that this is to prevent cheating - if a person slept in NYC, and woke up and suddenly went to London, it's a clear sign that that person is using unapproved methods.


    Don't get me wrong, I'm not approving this behaviour, just trying to find a logical explanation, apart from the usual "Google evil"

    MarcVioletChepilkltaylor
  • VioletChepil
    VioletChepil London, UKMember Posts: 2,471
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    Interesting view @fonix232 I do wonder if that could be possible. Though could they get just from users IP address when connecting? 

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    kltaylor
  • kltaylor
    kltaylor Member, Beta Tester Posts: 1,231
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    It's not uncommon for a cell phone to ping in NYC and later in London Heathrow.  What concerns me more than that thoug, is failure to disclose that information to those individuals that downloaded, installed, and played the game.
    "There's a fine line between audacity and idiocy."
    -Warden Anastasia Luccio, Captain
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  • fonix232
    fonix232 Member Posts: 6
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    Interesting view @fonix232 I do wonder if that could be possible. Though could they get just from users IP address when connecting? 
    IP addresses are in no way a reliable source of location. I could be using a VPN that puts me in the middle of the Sahara by IP address, but still be in NYC.
    kltaylor said:
    It's not uncommon for a cell phone to ping in NYC and later in London Heathrow.
    How would a phone's GPS "ping in NYC", then an hour later in London? I'm 100% sure Niantic (Google) takes travels into account, and while an NYC-London flight can take anywhere between 7 and 10 hours, it's unlikely that at 8AM GMT your phone sends a location from Manhattan, then 5 minutes later from Trafalgar.
    kltaylor said:
    What concerns me more than that thoug, is failure to disclose that information to those individuals that downloaded, installed, and played the game.
    I'm 100% sure it is in the ToS that you accept upon opening the app (or is it during registration? Can't remember) contains a clause that Niantic will receive periodic location updates, even when the app is not running.
    VioletChepilkltaylorMarc
  • Pooh
    Pooh Member, Beta Tester Posts: 674
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    fonix232 said:
    kltaylor said: It's not uncommon for a cell phone to ping in NYC and later in London Heathrow.
    How would a phone's GPS "ping in NYC", then an hour later in London? I'm 100% sure Niantic (Google) takes travels into account, and while an NYC-London flight can take anywhere between 7 and 10 hours, it's unlikely that at 8AM GMT your phone sends a location from Manhattan, then 5 minutes later from Trafalgar.
    Think @kltaylor maybe referring to IP address Ping's not GPS ones (e.g. if one fire's up a VPN based in a foreign country)
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  • kltaylor
    kltaylor Member, Beta Tester Posts: 1,231
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    "If a person slept in NYC, and woke up and suddenly went to London"
    Your original message wasn't in regards to "an hour later".
    To the extent of your original comment, I will restate that it would not be uncommon to have that happen.  As @Pooh also mentioned, you could always use a VPN that allows your device to 'ping' in NYC and once deactivated, pings again in London.  Just that function alone would not indicate to me that there's a possible breach in any way.
    "There's a fine line between audacity and idiocy."
    -Warden Anastasia Luccio, Captain
    MarcVioletChepil