Weather Channel app sued for data mining

Weather Channel app sued for data mining

"The Weather Company has always been transparent with use of location data", a company representative said in response to the lawsuit "The disclosures are fully appropriate, and we will defend them vigorously".

"Unbeknownst to many users, the Weather Channel App has tracked users' detailed geolocation data for years, analyzing and/or transferring that data to third parties for a variety of commercial and advertising purposes, including for targeted advertisements based on locations users frequent, and for hedge funds interested in analyzing consumer behavior", the lawsuit said.

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.

The lawsuit was filed electronically Thursday, but not time-stamped under L.A. Superior Court's new mandatory e-filing system.

But Feuer said TWC "elevates corporate profits over users' privacy" by sharing that data with third-party companies, including advertisers.

The Weather Channel app is used by 45 million people a month and was the most downloaded weather app from 2014 to 2017, according to data cited in the complaint.

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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. "If the cost of a weather forecast will be the sacrifice of deeply private information - like precisely where we are, day and night - it must be clear, in advance".

Hundreds of popular apps are collecting location data that they claim is anonymous, but further analysis shows it can be easily linked to specific users.

The app collects location data on where users live and work, as well as the places they visit throughout the day and night, according to the suit.

Mobile apps and high-tech companies like Google and Facebook have also faced scrutiny in the a year ago for similar reasons - tracking personal data of its users, according to the report.

The attorney elected to represent the second-most populated city in the country is seeking an injunction against the Weather Channel to stop what he alleges are "unfair business practices and civil penalties" to punish and deter the company from engaging in similar conduct in the future. With 1 billion pieces of location data collected per week, the app had the largest set of location data in the world.

The case "goes to the core of one of today's most fundamental issues ... privacy in the digital age", Feuer said in his statement.

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