LA attorney sues The Weather Channel, says its mobile app improperly gathers user location...

Polycount

TS Evangelist
Staff member

Poor data privacy standards seem to be the norm for many tech companies nowadays, but it seems even older institutions -- like The Weather Channel (TWC) -- aren't immune to similar problems.

According to a lawsuit filed by Los Angeles city attorney Mike Feuer (spotted by The Verge), TWC's dedicated mobile app may be improperly harvesting user data; similar to the Cambridge Analytica incident that took place some time ago.

Apparently, user location data gathered via the app has been "transferred to others for profit," despite TWC's claims that it only uses said data to improve the accuracy of weather predictions. Specifically, the information has reportedly been given to IBM (the company that owns TWC) affiliates for advertising and market research purposes.

...user location data gathered via the app has been "transferred to others for profit," despite TWC's claims that it only uses said data to improve the accuracy of weather predictions.

Even if you don't mind your location data being handed off to third parties, it's tough to deny that the way TWC has gone about it so far is worth a bit of skepticism.

As Feuer points out, the company is effectively tricking its users into turning on location services for the app, without disclosing precisely how that location information will be used.

TWC's app doesn't just track anonymous data like your general area (such as your city or state) - it tracks your zip code, and your "minute," moment-to-moment movements whether you're using the app or not.

We'll update this story if TWC responds to Feuer's allegations, but for now, you can read his full suit right here.

Image courtesy iMore

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Danny101

TS Guru
It wasn't even a good app. Accuweather is better. I had it, although the location permission was disabled (who knows if it really is anyway). I summarily deleted it after this story broke.
 

Kibaruk

TechSpot Paladin
It wasn't even a good app. Accuweather is better. I had it, although the location permission was disabled (who knows if it really is anyway). I summarily deleted it after this story broke.
There should be a single panel to check whatever the app is doing in the background, time alive, background usage, battery, memory, etc... now I can do it in my Android phone but I have to go to multiple places to get that info.
Uninstalled TWC app several years ago because of it's battery drain even while closed.
That sounds like it was doing exactly what is said to be doing. Whenever I'm installing a new app I check for battery drains, the problem is that un-rooted phones can't check the battery drain of system apps (For Android at least), so you never really know if it's doing something in the background that at least brings a warning to users.
 
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