An anonymous reader writes from a report via TechCrunch: Senator Al Franken has questioned Niantic, the makers of Pokemon Go, about how it handles user's information. He asked the company to explain several key details about how Pokemon Go works, including whether all the data collection was necessary, how data will be shared and how parental consent is obtained for kids who play the game. The game was under the spotlight soon after it launched when it was revealed that users had to provide the game full access and control over their Google accounts. Niantic general counsel Courtney Greene Power responded to Franken via a letter (PDF): "Country is collected and stored, to provide a user the appropriate experience; language may be stored in future updates, for the same purpose. The app collects certain information to facilitate important quality and stability objectives and to prevent abuse. This includes information such as mobile operating system, mobile device identifier, and hardware build information. This information is used to debug phone-specific game problems and to detect and deter cheating in the game. She went on to explain that players under 13 are redirected to the company's website when they register to play, where their parent must also register. Parents are then asked to verify their identity through third-party vendor, Veratad. "Niantic does not and has no plans to sell Pokemon Go user data -- aggregated, de-identified or otherwise -- to any third party," Power wrote. The company also adds that data is shared with mobile app analytics companies and with marketing and analysis companies, but these companies agreed to keep user data secure. The data shared with third parties does not include the data of users under 13, the company said, and no user data will be shared with investors. In response to the response, Sen. Franken said in a statement: "The launch of Pokemon Go earlier this summer represented a new era in gaming, but shortly after the app's release, there were strong concerns about how it treats its users' digital data. I appreciate Niantic's response, but I intend to work further with the company in the future to ensure that we're doing everything possible to protect the privacy of Americans -- particularly American children -- who play Pokemon Go."
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