'Pokemon Go' Offers Fun, Some Concerns About Personal Info - NBC4 Washington

'Pokemon Go' Offers Fun, Some Concerns About Personal Info

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Pokemon Go Craze in DC

    Pokemon Go has been out for less than a week and it's already a national addiction. It's surpassed Tinder, Instagram, and even Twitter in popularity. As News4's Meagan Fitzgerald explains, it can be dangerous. (Published Tuesday, July 12, 2016)

    “Pokemon Go” has been out for just six days and has quickly become a national sensation. It has surpassed Tinder, Instagram, and Twitter for usage, going to number one in the Apple and Android app stores.

    The app brings the popular Pokemon characters into the real world.

    “It's the latest craze that has captured everybody's attention,” said gaming expert Larry Frum, who also works at NBC4. “You have to look at your phone to see where the Pokemon are, so you can walk to them and capture them.”

    Frum said players walk around to find the Pokemon, and once they're detected, they have a chance to capture them with the swipe of the smartphone screen to flick a Pokeball.

    "And now, Zubat shows up in the real world," he said.

    “It makes you think about your childhood, and you're like, hey, Pokemon, and they're out in the real world,” said Brian Merito, a “Pokemon Go” player. “Now, they're out walking with you.”

    Pokemon can be found just about anywhere, and the National Park Service is asking players not to use the game app in certain locations.

    “We’re seeing scores, if not hundreds, of people coming down to the mall with the app playing 'Pokemon Go,'” said Mike Litterst, a spokesman for the National Park Service. “The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, for instance. The Korean War WWII. These are places that were set up for remembrance.”

    The Holocaust Museum is asking for the same respect, something some players do understand.

    “It's like the significance of that, so I would understand why they say that and I would definitely agree with that,” said Merito.

    Pictures sent in by other players showed Pokemon are everywhere. A photo from Steven Wynands showed a Psyduck in the White House. Another picture from the U.S. Botanical Gardens showed a Butterfree hanging out among flora.

    There have been concerns about how the app was accessing the player’s personal information.

    “What was happening was Google was taking your permissions away, so they could, in theory, read your email, read your Google docs, see where you've been on Google maps,” Frum said.

    He said Niantic and Google have issued a fix in the latest update to the app, but if players still feel uncomfortable, they can still deny access by going into Google settings and revoking permissions.

    “You see it says Pokemon Go release has full access to your Google account,” Frum said. “Click to revoke.”

    There are still a few kinks that need to be worked out, but so far, the new app is a big hit.