Using weather apps on a smartphone is no more an odd practice now a days as users remain updated with weather forecasts and severe weather alerts. However, major weather apps have been reportedly involved in breaching your personal information to third party buyers.
As per media reports, the City of Los Angeles has sued The Weather Channel for secretly mining user location data and selling them to third-party advertisers including IBM affiliates and others. The lawsuit states that the data has been shared with no relation to weather forecasting or related activities.
The city attorney of LA states that The Weather Channel app secretly profited from data of millions of users (over 45 million monthly active users). The city attorney said in a statement:
“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.”
Meanwhile, an IBM spokesperson has defended the use of the data by The Weather Channel in a statement:
“The Weather Company has always been transparent with use of location data; the disclosures are fully appropriate, and we will defend them vigorously.”
This is not the first time that a weather app has been sued as WeatherBug has also been caught by the NY Times for selling exact location data of the users to suspicious third parties.
Just adding more information, be noted that AccuWeather may collect your location even if you have turned off the location on your smartphone. The tests conducted on this app sparked public outrage and forced the company to issue an apology.
This is totally unethical and illegal to fetch one’s personal information using such shady practices to generate more revenue. Publishers are being sued in different parts of the world and hopefully would reach to a conclusive ending.
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