19 Aug 16
An innocent game or one step closer to “Big Brother”? Marit Hansen, privacy commissioner of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, has warned “Pokémon Go” users in an interview with Handelsblatt that it is in fact the biggest data collecting service out there, with full control over all major features of the users’ smartphones, sourcing data from cameras, microphones, GPS and even friends’ lists. One of the problems, mentioned by Deutsche Welle, is that the developer Niantic could use the game as a marketing tool, deliberately affecting consumer behaviour by steering them with Pokémons towards retail outlets. Legally, this is a difficult question because of the international scope of the enterprise. The Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBV) has however challenged 15 clauses of “Pokémon Go” developer Niantic’s terms of usage and privacy statements, threatening to go to court if their demands were not met. The first deadline for the court date has passed (9th of August), and the VZBV have pushed the date back by a month after Niantic allegedly contacted them.