Franken pledges to keep pushing Pokemon Go on privacy

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Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said Thursday he would continue working to address questions about privacy and the hit game Pokemon Go.

Franken previously sent a set of questions to the company behind the game, Niantic, about their privacy practices, saying that he was “concerned about the extent to which Niantic may be unnecessarily collecting, using, and sharing a wide range of users’ personal information without their appropriate consent.” The company responded late last month.

{mosads}“I appreciate Niantic’s response, but I intend to work further with the company in the future to ensure that we’re doing everything possible to protect the privacy of Americans — particularly American children — who play Pokemon Go,” Franken said in a statement on Thursday.

His office said that a team from the developer would meet with Franken’s staff in the “near future.” His statement accompanied the release of Niantic’s response to his questions.

The company laid out the way it uses consumer data — including the location data that is central to the game — and defended the way it handles underage players.

“Although teen and adult players are the primary intended audience of Pokemon Go, we recognize that the game will be of interest to some children under the age of 13 who have access to mobile phones, and that some parents will want their children under the age of 13 to be able to play,” the company’s general counsel said.

“For that reason, we worked with our partner, the Pokemon Company International, to develop an account creation and verifiable parental consent process through the Pokémon Trainer Club.”

Niantic also said it doesn’t give data about players under 13 years of age to third-party vendors who work with the company.

Franken’s scrutiny follows the breakout success of the game, which lets players hunt for the game’s eponymous creatures through an augmented reality mechanic that uses a smartphone’s camera. One report at the beginning of August said the game had been installed more than 100 million times.

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