News & Politics

Al Franken Wants to Save You from Pokémon Go

Former comedian turned United States senator Al Franken likes to tackle the big issues. That is, if by “big issues,” you mean anything that will score him a headline due to its inherent popularity. From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

[Franken] is raising privacy concerns with Pokémon Go, a new smartphone game that millions of users around the country have downloaded in the past week.

The game blends the real world and virtual world using GPS cellphone technology, but it also seeks access to the user’s personal data, like precise location, e-mail address and the last website visited.

The game has been downloaded 7.5 million times in less than a week. Franken noted that many of the users are children. Franken has asked Niantic, the company that developed the game, to explain how it collects user data and what it does with that data. He expressed concerns that the company was collecting and distributing to third parties more personal information than was necessary to keep the app functioning.

What information the app does or does not collect is, of course, none of Franken’s business. The senator ought to concern himself with matters of actual public import, such as the fact that his party’s presumptive nominee for president has escaped consequences for flagrantly violating federal law. Or, if he wants to keep things on the topic of privacy, Franken could focus on any of the dozens of different ways the government handles information regarding its citizens.

Of course, that wouldn’t serve his pro-government, anti-corporate agenda. So it’s not likely to happen.