The Climate Channel app misled hundreds of thousands of customers into permitting it entry to their private location knowledge, profiting off of the information for business functions, the town legal professional of Los Angeles alleged in a lawsuit filed on Thursday.
The Climate Channel app is likely one of the hottest climate providers in the USA and it’s rated primary within the iOS App Retailer within the climate class, in response to The Verge. The app has been downloaded over 100 million occasions and the Climate Firm, the IBM-owned enterprise, bolsters 45 million lively month-to-month customers.
Within the lawsuit, the federal government claims that the Climate Firm deceived customers into turning on their location monitoring, saying it could solely be used to obtain extra exact climate reviews. However the firm by no means disclosed that it could additionally monetize the information and use it for different functions not associated to climate alerts or forecasts. Within the lawsuit, the federal government claims that the Climate Firm used the information for focused advertising and hedge fund evaluation.
“For years, [The Weather Channel] has deceptively used its Climate Channel App to amass its customers’ non-public, private geolocation knowledge — monitoring minute particulars about its customers’ areas all through the day and evening, all of the whereas main customers to consider that their knowledge will solely be used to offer them with ‘customized native climate knowledge, alerts and forecasts,’” the federal government mentioned within the lawsuit.
The lawsuit cited a report from The New York Occasions that highlighted how firms revenue off the placement knowledge they obtain from customers. These apps gather knowledge, similar to Fb and Google, and permit third events entry in an effort to hyper-target internet advertising.
Civil penalties and an injunction are being sought by the California authorities beneath its Unfair Competitors Legislation. IBM responded to the lawsuit, saying, “The Climate Firm has at all times been clear with use of location knowledge; the disclosures are absolutely acceptable, and we are going to defend them vigorously.”
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