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First, Niantic Mapped The World. Now It's Mapping You


Hanke described a world where people can better navigate public transit and understand their surroundings because of digital mapping initiatives like Niantic.

Louie, who currently sits on the board of Niantic and whose venture capital firm is a major investor in the company, has had a decades-long relationship with Hanke, apparently fueled by their shared enthusiasm for mapping and augmented reality.

Minnesota senator Al Franken penned a strongly-worded letter to Niantic about it, expressing concern "about the extent to which Niantic may be unnecessarily collecting, using, and sharing a wide range of users' personal information without their appropriate consent.

Running all of these games is what Niantic calls its Real World Platform, an "operating system" that allows other developers to build their own apps and games that use all of the work that Niantic has already done in mapping and tagging the world.

On average, we found that Niantic kept about three location records per minute of gameplay of Wizards Unite, nearly twice as many as it did with Pokémon Go. For one player, Niantic had at least one location record taken during nearly every hour of the day, suggesting that the game was collecting data and sharing it with Niantic even when the player was not playing.

When Kotaku first asked Niantic why Wizards Unite was collecting location data even while the game was not actively being played, its first response was that we must be mistaken, since the game, it said, did not collect data while backgrounded.

Big-name players in the tech industry have contributed, like Samsung Ventures, Battery Ventures, and IVP, who says Niantic is "delivering an operating system for applications that unite the digital world with the physical world.

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