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Snowden Director Oliver Stone Describes Pokémon Go As A "New Level Of Invasion"

by Elise Favis on Jul 21, 2016 at 12:36 PM

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At the Snowden film panel at Comic-Con today, members of the film's cast and crew discussed the wildly popular Pokémon Go and its relation to privacy concerns. According to Deadlinethis event included appearances from stars such as Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, and Zachary Quinto, as well as Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone. 

Snowden is an upcoming film about Edward Snowden, the infamous NSA whistleblower who leaked government secrets to the public. Because of the movie's timely themes of privacy, the discussion shifted to Niantic's Pokémon Go during the Q&A period. Stone described the game as "a new level of invasion" and that it taps into "surveillance capitalism," due to its ability to data mine. He believes that factors such as these could be a road towards totalitarianism.

Stone is not the first to show concern regarding Pokémon Go and privacy. Closer to the launch of the app, it requested players to allow the game to access to their entire Google accounts. Niantic responded to our inquiries about the issue, stating that while the creation process in Pokémon Go asks for full access, the game only actually collects information regarding your Google profile, such as username and email address. The developer quickly issued a fix to change the nature of the account access.

Snowden will be out later this year in theaters on September 16. 

[Source: Deadline]

Our Take
From what I gather, I think Stone's outspoken thoughts on the matter might be a bit extreme, but it doesn't mean we shouldn't be wary of possible privacy issues. Looking back at when the game was requesting full access to Google accounts, that was a request that made many players unnerved, even if Niantic has now responded saying that the game only accesses basic information.