Last week the world witnessed the launch of one of the most popular mobile device apps to date. Pokemon Go has been an absolute sensation in the US, Australia, Canada and many European countries. With Great Britain, Japan, France and Germany set to launch in the near future, one can only imagine the heights this app will reach with this ever growing social phenomenon.
You may have noticed Pokemon trainers in your office, around your neighborhood or possibly even on your lawn. The game has seen its fair share of positives beyond the game play, sales at some local businesses that have been dubbed “Pokestops” have seen an increase, secondary businesses are cropping up for “Pokemon Walkers” and “Pokemon Tourism”, and more and more people are just getting out and walking (I’ve seen it with my own eyes!)
However, with the good also comes the bad. Mobile phone thefts, people putting themselves in danger by not paying attention to their surroundings and massive traffic jams have the general public worried.
Another topic that I haven’t seen as much coverage on is security. Whether it be your mobile device or hacker groups taking down servers, security should be a big concern for Pokemon players. I know it is for me.
Last week two Summit employees and I decided to make a video and join in on the Pokemon hunt. In doing so, I had my concerns. I “protected myself” as much as possible beforehand. I uninstalled all of my social apps, deleted my e-mail accounts and cleared my browser history. I didn’t want Niantic to grab whatever information they wanted from me as their lengthy and, some have said, over-reaching terms-and-conditions state they can access (then again, I have a Facebook account, so really what’s the difference?)
Additionally, I upgraded to the latest IOS for my iPhone before downloading the app as well as created a throwaway Gmail account that I only used for Pokemon Go. Fortunately, I didn’t have to worry about my bank accounts being hacked, as I do not use my phone for mobile banking. I figured, at the very least, Niantic and any would be hackers could grab my throwaway email address and whatever kernels of dull information one could find on my phone. Call me paranoid, but I wanted to take as many precautions as necessary before I made the plunge into Pokemon Go.
So, what were my takeaways? Besides what you’ve already watched in the video above and my concerns for security, I determined that it was fun, but not something that I could see myself doing for days on end. However, there is a gym near our offices, maybe when we get good enough, Team Summit can take it down.