Warning: *privacy not included with this product
What could happen if something goes wrong?
First off, Nintendo does collect a fair amount of personal information. Things like name, email address, postal address, phone number, date of birth, country of residence, language, gender, device and advertising identifiers and other unique personal or online identifiers, location (with your consent), health information (with your consent), and lots of information about how and when and what games you play.
Nintendo also says they can “receive information about you from other sources, including from other users of our services, and third-party services and organizations.” This worries us a bit because they say they can take this information they receive from third party sources and combine it with information they have about you and build an even bigger profile on you. And they say they can use that information to do things like offer you customized content, provide you with tailored advertising, and send you promotional materials from them or their affiliates and business partners (which could be a pretty good number of companies). So, Nintendo collects a good deal of personal information and says they can use and share that with third parties for targeted, interest-based advertising. None of this is great.
That’s the bad news with Nintendo. Now on to some good news. They do say that they do not, and will not, sell your data. That’s good. Too bad they do share it with third parties for advertising purposes. And they do a good job with parental controls on the Switch. So parents, make sure to set those up (here’s some help with that).
As for security, Nintendo did have a data breach in 2020 where 300,000 accounts were compromised and attackers gained access to users' personal information, including date of birth and email addresses. That's not great. And early in 2022, Nintendo had to ask users to stop using their Wi-Fi USB Connector due to security concerns.
So what’s the worst that could happen with your Nintendo Switch? Well, if you don’t set up two-factor authentication (please do this!), it’s possible someone could hack into your Nintendo account and buy a bunch of games at your expense. That could be costly and you don’t want that headache. Here’s hoping you set-up 2FA, lock down your Nintendo privacy settings and opt-out of as much data collection as you can, so you can sit back and enjoy some Mario Kart, Splatoon, or Sonic with your friends.
Tips to protect yourself
- Check the Nintendo Switch privacy settings
- Enable two-factor authentication on your Nintendo Switch account
- Opt out of sharing your eShop data.
- Do not sign up with third-party accounts. Better just log in with email and strong password.
- Chose a strong password! You may use a password control tool like 1Password, KeePass etc
- Use your device privacy controls to limit access to your personal information via app (do not give access to your camera, microphone, images, location unless neccessary)
- Keep your app regularly updated
- Limit ad tracking via your device (eg on iPhone go to Privacy -> Advertising -> Limit ad tracking) and biggest ad networks (for Google, go to Google account and turn off ad personalization)
- Request your data be deleted once you stop using the app. Simply deleting an app from your device usually does not erase your personal data.
- When starting a sign-up, do not agree to tracking of your data if possible.
What can be used to sign up?
What data does the company collect?
Name, email, phone number, date of birth, gender
How does the company use this data?
How can you control your data?
What is the company’s known track record of protecting users’ data?
Child Privacy Information
Can this product be used offline?
User-friendly privacy information?
Links to privacy information
Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?
How to Set Parental Controls on the Nintendo SwitchCommon Sense
Nintendo wanted hacker's prison sentence to turn headsAxios
Nintendo says account breach was even worse than it first thoughtDigital Trends
Nintendo asks people to stop using Wi-Fi USB Connector due to security concernsNintendo Everything
How to Manage PlayStation, Switch, and Xbox Privacy SettingsNew York Times
Nintendo Switch: How to Turn Off Data Sharing via Google AnalyticsGadgets 360
How to Stop Nintendo From Sharing Your eShop Data With Google AnalyticsLifehacker
Nintendo now says 300,000 accounts breached by hackersTechCrunch
Nintendo Breach: Now 300,000 Accounts AffectedInfosecurity Magazine
Nintendo data breach reportedly caused by credential stuffingTechRepublic
Nintendo 2FA: How to enable two-factor authentication on your Nintendo Switch accountGames Radar
Open letter: Nintendo’s commitment to privacy on AR developmentsAccess Now
The Nintendo Switch Camera: Where It Is and How Does It Work?Lifewire
How to Boost Your Game Console’s SecurityLifehacker
Got a comment? Let us hear it.