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posted by cmn32480 on Saturday July 23 2016, @08:19AM   Printer-friendly
from the camera+GPS=knowing-most-everything dept.

This data-mining game is what they call totalitarianism is how Oliver Stone described Pokémon Go at Comic Con. Earlier in the month Al Franken also expressed some concern asking the creator of the game about privacy, data sharing, and account access.

More from Stone:

They're data-mining every person in this room for information as to what you're buying, what you like, and above all, your behaviour. Pokémon Go kicks into that. But this is everywhere. It's what some people call surveillance capitalism. It's the newest stage. It's not for profit in the beginning, but it becomes for profit in the end.

It manipulates your behaviour. It has happened already quite a bit on the Internet, but you'll see it everywhere—you'll see a new form of, frankly, a robot society, where they will know how you want to behave and they will make the mockup that matches how you behave and feed you. It's what they call totalitarianism.

Personally I gave up my smart phone more than two years ago because I did not want a spy machine in my pocket; I've never played Pokémon Go but it seemed like a great way for the game creators to get people to run around and point the players camera at what ever they want, obtain other location based data, or focus players into businesses that pay for the privilege. Perhaps I just need to adjust my tinfoil hat but what do the 'lentils think? Is Stone just trying to plug his new movie or is this a legitimate concern?


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  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 23 2016, @05:32PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 23 2016, @05:32PM (#379090)

    > The game has no way to know anything but my movement data.

    You think so, huh?

    Do you have wifi at home? Do you use any other computers at home? Tada! Your smartphone has ratted you out. It knows your wifi's SSID and MAC address and has reported that along with the GPS coordinates back to google. Google has also linked all the web activity of all the other systems behind the router with your phone including any identifying info they've revealed. So now when you take that phone with you, it isn't just "movement activity," its stuff like where you work, where your friends live, what stores you shop at, what doctors you visit etc, etc. And its a permanent record associated with all the other computers back at your house so even if you toss the phone, all that info is part of the permanent dossier google has on you.

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  • (Score: 2) by butthurt on Saturday July 23 2016, @08:28PM

    by butthurt (6141) on Saturday July 23 2016, @08:28PM (#379156) Journal

    It knows your wifi's SSID and MAC address and has reported that along with the GPS coordinates back to google.

    If the house is near a road, Google and others likely have that information already. Google famously sent vans driving around in many countries, with cameras and (in some countries) Wi-fi sniffing equipment. If Google missed a spot, the players of this game may well venture there.

    The OP had written "...I leave my smartphone at home..."; if the OP ever leaves it there while on, that can reveal where the OP lives. Taking it other places can reveal when the OP has left home. That information can be useful to an adversary.

    Google has also linked all the web activity of all the other systems behind the router with your phone including any identifying info they've revealed.

    Just bringing a smart-phone into the vicinity of a Wi-fi access point doesn't automatically give it access to the network. Of course, one can set up unencrypted Wi-fi or one can provide one's WPA password to the phone.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 23 2016, @10:07PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 23 2016, @10:07PM (#379182)

      Just bringing a smart-phone into the vicinity of a Wi-fi access point doesn't automatically give it access to the network. Of course, one can set up unencrypted Wi-fi or one can provide one's WPA password to the phone.

      Thank you captain obvious!

      • (Score: 2) by butthurt on Saturday July 23 2016, @10:38PM

        by butthurt (6141) on Saturday July 23 2016, @10:38PM (#379194) Journal

        It wasn't obvious to the AC who wrote

        Google has also linked all the web activity of all the other systems behind the router with your phone including any identifying info they've revealed.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by jcross on Monday July 25 2016, @01:02AM

      by jcross (4009) on Monday July 25 2016, @01:02AM (#379606)

      Yes but think what you can infer from the parallel nature of the location data. If the OP has a dumb phone for actual calls, some system knows roughly where that is. Probably not the Pokemon Go system, but still. So the device is either always at your house or always right near your dumb phone? Hmm, what a coincidence! Obviously one could take precautions to make sure this data is hard to correlate, but that's going to come at the cost of convenience, and once they decide it's your device, your cover might be blown for good. You drive around to get to your Poke-spots? Funny how the device data lines up with what the license plate scanners are saying. Hell, for that matter let's say that you get caught on the camera of another player. You think big data can't recognize your face?

      • (Score: 2) by butthurt on Monday July 25 2016, @01:45AM

        by butthurt (6141) on Monday July 25 2016, @01:45AM (#379621) Journal

        Yes, thank you, if they know where you live they may be able to work out who you are, or at least come up with a short list of possibilities (depending on whether one lives in a detached house, row house, or block of flats). I had meant to mention that.

        I hadn't thought about number plate readers; that information would certainly help narrow down a list.

        The game doesn't appear to be designed to capture images of people's faces. I haven't played it but I gather that the Pokémon creatures are typically displayed as though they are on the ground, leading players to aim their cameras downward. That could of course change in future versions.