Los Angeles Sues Weather Company App Over Geolocation Tracking

The Weather Company dupes app users by collecting their precise geolocation data for ad-targeting purposes, the city of Los Angeles alleges in a new lawsuit.

In a complaint filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, city attorney Michael Feuer alleges that the Weather Company, owned by IBM, misleads app users into believing their location data will only be used to provide them with personalized weather-related information. Instead, according to the complaint, the app sells the data for ad-targeting purposes.

“When seeking consent for geolocation tracking, the app does not ... give users any reason to believe that their location data will be used for anything other than personalized local weather data, alerts and forecasts,” the complaint reads. “Unbeknownst to its users, TWC's core business is amassing and profiting from user location data.”



While the app asks users to consent to share their geolocation data, information about how the data can be used for ad purposes is buried in the “opaque discussions” within the privacy policy and privacy settings, the complaint says. “On information and belief, TWC intentionally obscures this information because it recognizes that many users would not permit the Weather Channel App to track their geolocation if they knew the true uses of that data.”

The complaint comes several weeks after The New York Timesreported on widespread geolocation tracking by numerous apps.

Los Angeles officials aren't the only governmental authorities prosecuting tech companies over alleged privacy violations. Facebook is currently facing suits by authorities in Illinois and the District of Columbia over revelations that Cambridge Analytica harvested data from millions of users. And Google is among the tech companies facing a suit by New Mexico Attorney General over alleged violations of federal and state children's privacy laws.

1 comment about "Los Angeles Sues Weather Company App Over Geolocation Tracking".
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  1. John Grono from GAP Research, January 7, 2019 at 4:25 p.m.

    Fair go.

    Everyone knows that the weather can be different street-by-street, if not home-by-home.   It's merely a better and more accurate user experience.


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