Pokemon Go Hack Lawsuit Ends With $5 Million Settlement
The creators of hacked Pokemon Go programs will pay out a large sum to Niantic.
A lawsuit filed in 2019 by Niantic Inc has reached a settlement, with hacking group Global++ agreeing to pay out $5 million to the Pokemon Go developer. As reported by Polygon, the rogue developers created and sold hacked versions of Pokémon Go, Ingress, and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite that gave players the ability to spoof their GPS locations and use features like "auto-walk."
After ignoring a number of cease and desist letters, Global++ had a lawsuit filed against it in mid-2019, after which a number of its social media and online presences went dark. In the original filing, Niantic alleged that the hacker group had made millions by selling "hundreds of thousands of subscriptions" to apps based on Niantic's original code.
In the settlement details, Global++ was found to have accessed and used Niantic's map data, and profited from the process by selling access to its programs through a subscription model. The defendants admitted to a number of breaches of federal law, including copyright infringement and violations of California's Computer Data Access and Fraud Act.
The hacker group is not only paying out $5 million in damages, but it will have to cease a number of activities including making Niantic hacks, selling programs that include Niantic's code, and accessing or interfering with Niantic's servers and data in general.
While Niantic has been involved in a number of lawsuits, this is the first time it's been on the receiving side of a settlement payout. In 2019 it settled a lawsuit brought by angry homeowners for alleged trespasses on their properties by Pokemon Go players, with Niantic paying out $4 million in legal fees plus $1,000 to each plaintiff--without accepting liability. Another lawsuit related to the disastrous Chicago Pokemon Go Fest was settled in 2018, with Niantic paying back a total of $1,575,000 to reimburse attendees for travel expenses including flights, hotel rooms, car rentals, and more.
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