Weather Channel App Accused of Tracking Data and Selling it to Third Parties
Some shocking news if you are a user of the Weather Channel app, the app may have been secretly mining your data. Earlier this month, a lawsuit was filed by the city of Los Angeles against the Weather Company, the business behind the app that is owned by IBM, which accuses it of manipulating users by implying that tracking data would be used only to localize weather reports. According to the lawsuit, the company also used the data for unrelated commercial purposes, like targeted marketing and analysis for hedge funds. Michael N. Feuer, the Los Angeles city attorney, stated the following regarding the lawsuit,
If the price of getting a weather report is going to be the sacrifice of your most personal information about where you spend your time day and night, you sure as heck ought to be told clearly in advance.
The Weather Channel app has been downloaded over 100 million times and has 45 million active users monthly in the United States. The New York Times found that at least 75 companies collected precise location data from smartphone apps to sell to advertisers, stores, and investors seeking insights into consumer behavior. Apparently, many of the pop-up notices that apps showed to prompt consumers to allow location services only partly disclosed how their data would be shared and used. The lawsuit claims that the incomplete pop-up notices are “fraudulent and deceptive” and violate California’s Unfair Competition Law. The penalties that the Weather Company could pay if it loses the case could add up to millions of dollars. We will have to wait and see the result of the lawsuit.