Pokemon GO developer Niantic has responded to Sen. Al Franken’s request for information concerning the company’s data practices. Sen. Franken’s letter, sent in early July, asked Niantic to clarify the scope, purpose, and necessity of its data collection practices. Niantic’s response letter indicates that it “collects and stores” user location data to place and position users on the game’s map, but fails to explain why and for how long location data is stored. Franken also directed the company to provide a current list of the "third party service providers" with whom user data is shared. Niantic’s letter confirms that it hires third parties to provide a variety of services, but does not specifically identify any of these companies. Privacy officials in Canada, Europe, and Asia, have begun investigations of Niantic, which is tied to the Google company Alphabet. The Niantic CEO led the Google project that captured private communications in more than 30 countries around the world. The initial Pokemon Go release provided Niantic full access to the user's Google account. EPIC sent a letter to the FTC urging the Commission to investigate the privacy risks posed by Pokemon GO, Niantic’s data collection practices, and its ties to Google.
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