The staff at Apopka (Fla.) Golf & Tennis at Errol Estate discovered tire tracks on the golf course’s fairways overnight, clearly making several stops, and concluded the driver was chasing Pokémon. The augment-reality game, which encourages players to go outside and visit specific locations to progress, has become a global phenomenon since its release late last week.
Pokémon Go, the wildly popular app that has made headlines over the past week, as users wander onto private property and even find themselves in dangerous situations while searching for animated characters to “catch,” has invaded a golf course in Apopka, Fla., the Apopka Voice reported.
“Someone drove down our fairways in a car last night,” said Paul Fisher, General Manager of Apopka Golf & Tennis at Errol Estate. “They traveled down the 11th fairway, then onto the 13th fairway and went on to the 14th fairway. From the tracks it was clear that they stopped several times.”
Unfortunately it is not that unusual for people to occasionally drive onto the golf course, but people rarely drive down the fairways, according to Fisher. It took a while, but Fisher and his staff finally figured out what was happening. The driver was chasing, and catching, Pokemon, the Voice reported.
Apparently the game is no respecter of private property, and is causing trespassing issues across the country. There’s a ready-made generation of fans, nurtured on playing cards, video games and cartoon shows, familiar with the story-line of finding, training and pitting “pocket monsters” against each other, Advertising Age reported.
The augment-reality game, which encourages players to go outside and visit specific locations to progress, has become a global phenomenon since its release late last week. The app has been downloaded about 7.5 million times in the US, providing $1.6 million in daily revenue from iOS devices alone, according to data from app analytics firm Sensor Tower, CNET reported.
While Pokémon Go is free to download, people can enhance their performance within the game by buying Pokéballs and other items that make it easier for players to find and capture Pokémon Go, Advertising Age reported.
Senator Al Franken, known for championing internet privacy, sent a letter on Tuesday to Niantic Labs, developer of the game, demanding to know what data it’s collecting from users and sharing with third parties, CNET reported.
“I am 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, Franken wrote in a letter addressed to Niantic CEO John Hanke. “From a user’s general profile information to their precise location data and device identifiers, Niantic has access to a significant amount of information, unless users—many of whom are children—opt-out of this collection.”
The game’s explosive growth has also fueled privacy fears. It was revealed on Monday that the game gives Niantic full access to users’ Google account, including email, contacts, photos and documents, if they used it to log into the game from an iOS device. In response, Niantic said it’s drastically limiting the access it requests going forward and that it didn’t access anything beyond user IDs and email addresses, CNET reported.
Franken, who chairs the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, wants Niantic to explain how it “collects a broad array of users’ personal information,” including their account information, location data and cookies. The Minnesota Democrat also wants Niantic to identify who the company would share anonymized aggregate data with and why, CNET reported.
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