A lawsuit filed on Thursday in the city of Los Angeles allegedly accuses The Weather Channel app of misleading customers into allowing them to access their personal location data and making huge sums of profit from selling their data for commercial purposes.
As of now, The Weather Channel app serves as the most popular app in the United States in the weather category and has even been rated as number one in the iOS App Store. More than 100 million app downloads have taken place so far and it currently boasts 45 million monthly active users.
In the recently filed lawsuit, it has been claimed by the government that The Weather Company forced users to turn on their location tracking by saying that it would only be used for giving much more accurate weather reports. But in reality, it monetized the data for business purposes that were not at all related to weather in any which way. As per the details in the lawsuit, the company most probably used the data for targeted marketing and hedge fund analysis.
“For years, [The Weather Channel] has deceptively used its Weather Channel App to amass its users’ private, personal geolocation data — tracking minute details about its users’ locations throughout the day and night, all the while leading users to believe that their data will only be used to provide them with ‘personalized local weather data, alerts and forecasts,” the government stated in the lawsuit.
Last month, The New York Times released a report briefly explaining how companies like Facebook, Google and Snapchat make tons of money from selling users location data for online advertising.
“The Weather Company has always been transparent with use of location data; the disclosures are fully appropriate, and we will defend them vigorously.” IBM’s response to the situation.
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