Recently, there has been increasing scrutiny of weather apps and the data that they collect. There have been public outcries after investigations and research have revealed mobile apps are tracking the locations of their users even when they say no to sharing the location data.
In Los Angeles, City Attorney Mike Feuer filed suit in early January against TWC Product and Technology, the maker of the Weather Channel mobile app. He accused the app of “covertly mining the private data of users and selling the information to third parties, including advertisers.”
The complaint alleges that TWC used the geolocation tracking technology present in the app to monitor where users live, work, and visit, twenty-four hours a day, as well as how much time users spend at each location. The complaint further alleges that TWC led its users to believe that their location data would only be used to provide them with “personalized local weather data, alerts and forecasts.” Instead, TWC allegedly sends this information to affiliates of its parent company, IBM, and other third parties for advertising and other commercial purposes entirely unrelated to the weather.
IBM’s initial response was to tell the New York Timesthat TWC “has always been transparent with use of location data; the disclosures are fully appropriate, and we will defend them vigorously.”Read more »