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Pokemon or Prison? You Gotta Pikachoose

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

Yes, this whole Pokémon Go thing is crazy. It's got more daily users than Twitter, players are battling over the White House, and weather websites are telling users how to take advantage of lightning to catch Electrabuzz. Suffice it to say, while Pokémon Go may seem like just a digital game, its augmented reality platform means it is having some real world implications.

So before you hit the Pokémon gym this weekend and pump imaginary iron (that's how all of this works, right?), make sure you're aware of all the legal implications of playing Pokémon Go.

Trespassing for Tentacruel

Pokémon Go is getting you out of the house and into the real world. But the real world is a mix of private and public property that the game may not be great at recognizing. Local police departments have noticed an uptick in trespassing complaints as players are wandering onto private property in search of the most valuable characters. Additionally, there have been park and curfew violations on public land as well.

It's great that you're getting more exercise now that you're trying to catch 'em all, just make sure that you're allowed to be where the Pokémon are.

Hands Up for Horsea

It didn't take long for enterprising criminals to use Pokémon Go's "lure" feature to draw distracted players into an armed robbery. Avoid making yourself a target (or injuring yourself) by keeping your head on swivel out there, people. And you may want to stick to more crowded public areas as well.

Over-Sharing for Snorlax

Pokémon Go is a little different than most of the game apps on your phone. Of course, it needs access to your smartphone's camera and GPS data, but it was also grabbing a whole lot more:

When those millions of Pokémon Go users sign up for the game, many of them do so by using their Google log in information. What many of them don't realize though, was that in the early days of the game, Apple users who accessed the game through their Google account allowed the developers at Niantic full access to their Google account. That's access to emails, attachments, Google Docs, even what YouTube videos you've liked.

While game-maker Niantic says that was a glitch and now it only accesses basic Google profile information, its privacy policy still allows it to share "aggregated information and non-identifying information with third parties for research and analysis, demographic profiling, and other similar purposes." So you might want to be careful about how much access you give the game, and how much you play it.

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