Los Angeles Alleges the Weather Channel App Deceptively Mined User Data for Profit

cageymaru

Fully [H]
Joined
Apr 10, 2003
Messages
19,882
The city of Los Angeles is suing the Weather Company for deceptively marketing location services in its Weather Channel app as only used to localize weather reports. In fact it is alleged that consumers had their private geolocation information data mined by the intrusive tool masquerading as a harmless weather app. The lawsuit alleges the information was used for commercial purposes such as targeted advertising and hedge funds as it was sent to IBM and its affiliates for such purposes. At no point in the process were consumers notified of this behavior which would have given them a reason to comb through the lengthy privacy policy. The Weather Company even considers itself as a "location data company powered by weather." It brags that the Weather Channel App is "the world's most downloaded weather app," with approximately 45 million users monthly.

The Weather Channel app allegedly tracked users on a second-by-second basis; noting every step they took, places they visited, time at each location, job, time at home, where they live, etc. The user did not have to be using the app for this tracking to occur as the app performs these tracking routines automatically. The data collected by the app could be used to accurately identify consumers using the app. Information such as consumer daily habits, preferences, and much more is collected and sold for profit by these companies operating in the $21 billion location-targeted advertising industry. The lawsuit referenced can be viewed here.

The permission prompt does not disclose that TWC will share geolocation data with third parties, nor that geolocation information will be used for advertising or other commercial purposes unrelated to weather or to the services that the app provides. The permission prompt also fails to reference or link to any other source containing more detailed information about what users' geolocation information will be used for. Users therefore have no reason to believe that their geolocation information will be used for anything other than providing them with "personalized local weather data, alerts and forecasts," or other services directly relating to the app.
 

PaulP

Gawd
Joined
Oct 31, 2016
Messages
776
This is the main reason I distrust apps and have a few as possible on my phone. I especially don't use any that demand location services, but don't have any obvious need for it to perform the primary function for which they are touted.
 

SomeoneElse

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jan 16, 2007
Messages
1,921
After finding out when i open the app it sends data back to Facebook, (which i don't use facebook on my phone), i uninstalled that app. I've been weary of that app for a while now and this stuff just confirms it for me.
 

Lith1um

2[H]4U
Joined
Aug 3, 2004
Messages
2,829
Makes me wonder if the carriers who preload bloat like Facebook are accomplices. It came on my phone, and I can't even uninstall it without rooting. I can disable it, but who knows what processes might lurk and I do notice a facebook installer process.
 

dvsman

2[H]4U
Joined
Dec 2, 2009
Messages
3,127
It's funny when I hear from coworkers how their 1 or 2 year old iphone has gotten so slow. I take a look and it's chock full of apps and I do not doubt that even when not used, those apps are all phoning home / mining personal data or other dastardly deeds and sucking battery power all the while.

For me personally, as a Android user, I only load the apps I actually use (like banking). No social crap other than Instagram (since I like to look at the purdy pictures). There is no reason for me to give any companies info on my personal business (other than Google of course, since they own my damn phone) especially when their app isn't even on / running.

That is just plain bullshit.
 

Spidey329

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Dec 15, 2003
Messages
8,682
It's been known for a while and it's why I won't let it touch any device I control. Surprised it took this long for a lawsuit.

I'm like dvsman, I only install stuff I know, use, and trust. Most apps are aggressively killed off from memory as well.
 

PantherBlitz

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 14, 2011
Messages
421
After finding out when i open the app it sends data back to Facebook, (which i don't use facebook on my phone), i uninstalled that app. I've been weary of that app for a while now and this stuff just confirms it for me.
Try NWS Now
 

d3athf1sh

Gawd
Joined
Dec 16, 2015
Messages
566
It's funny when I hear from coworkers how their 1 or 2 year old iphone has gotten so slow. I take a look and it's chock full of apps and I do not doubt that even when not used, those apps are all phoning home / mining personal data or other dastardly deeds and sucking battery power all the while.

For me personally, as a Android user, I only load the apps I actually use (like banking). No social crap other than Instagram (since I like to look at the purdy pictures). There is no reason for me to give any companies info on my personal business (other than Google of course, since they own my damn phone) especially when their app isn't even on / running.

That is just plain bullshit.
so what you're saying is you don't think "the apps you use" aren't doing this too?

this is why i use a "dumb" phone
 

Viper16

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
May 3, 2005
Messages
1,684
It was a sad day with Wunderground was bought by Weather Channel and their bloated webpages.
 

Teenyman45

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 29, 2010
Messages
2,383
It's 2019. Corporate psychopaths are gonna psychopath.
But there's no reason to acquiesce and let them do it. Prison is a viable alternative for such corporate types who engage in mass fraud and/or deception.
 

bos

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 10, 2016
Messages
188
The weather channel's website is hot F'ing garbage, I can't think of a page with longer load times and failures to load. The fact their app is crap is not surprising.
 
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Zarathustra[H]

I Complain about Everything
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Oct 29, 2000
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29,995
What alternative to this app is there? I mean, weather Channel bought Weather Underground a while back, right?
 

Smashing Young Man

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 11, 2009
Messages
1,572
The weather channel's website is hot F'ing garbage, I can't think of a page with longer load times and failures to load. The fact their app is crap is not surprising.
Try hitting SFGate.com with adblocking disabled . . . if you dare.
 

masquap

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 2, 2011
Messages
134
What alternative to this app is there? I mean, weather Channel bought Weather Underground a while back, right?
iOS built in one tells the weather, is there something this app does extra?

Edit: also didn’t Android have a widget you could add to the desktop?
 

DocNo

Gawd
Joined
Apr 23, 2012
Messages
654
I bought the app Dark Sky. I can't say if it's any safer.
Dark Sky is awesome. Although the last major update seems to have affected it's rain predicting accuracy negatively :(

Carrot Weather is also a pretty good app and I would be shocked if either are sending data to Facebook.
 
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