Published On: Tue, Aug 22nd, 2017

Users Explicitly Say “NO” But AccuWeather Still Shares Their Location Data

AccuWeather has been held promulgation plcae information to a third-party information firm, even when a user has switched off plcae sharing. Will Strafach, a confidence researcher, tweeted over a weekend that he has detected AccuWeather – one of a many renouned continue apps in App Store, braggadocio millions of downloads – promulgation plcae information to an promotion firm named Reveal Mobile. The information monetization organisation markets its ability to “convert mobile plcae signals into high value audiences” and “generate some-more mobile revenue, with or though ads.”

Over a weekend, Strafach carried out some-more tests to serve determine his initial find and has common that a following information was customarily sent to Reveal Mobile:

  • Your accurate GPS coordinates, including stream speed and altitude.
  • The name and “BSSID” of a Wi-Fi router we are now connected to, that can be used for geolocation by several online services.
  • Whether your device has bluetooth incited on or off.

“During a contrast duration of 36 hours, privately while a AccuWeather focus was not in a foreground, my exam iPhone (located on a table in an bureau building) sent a above information to RevealMobile a sum of 16 times, occuring roughly once each few hours,” he wrote today.

When a user has enabled plcae sharing, a app sends accurate GPS coordinates as common in a above excerpt. However, even though plcae pity enabled, AccuWeather will still send your Wi-Fi router name and BSSID, “providing RevealMobile entrance to reduction accurate plcae information per your device’s whereabouts.”

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AccuWeather doesn’t consider it’s only plain wrong to share plcae information though user consent

Reveal Mobile in response to these revelations has pronounced that a association does collect WiFi and other associated information though “does not use it” for plcae information as “everything is anonymized,” and that it follows all App Store guidelines.

“We follow all app store guidelines, honoring all device turn and app turn opt-outs and permissions. If someone chooses to invalidate plcae permissions to an app regulating a technology, we collect no plcae information from that device. We do not try to retreat operative a device’s plcae formed on other information signals like Bluetooth when plcae services are disabled. […]

The information we collect is always anonymized and grouped into assembly segments, like coffee drinkers or visit shoppers. We offer no product or use that permits anyone to see an particular device’s plcae data.”

“In a future, AccuWeather skeleton to use information by Reveal Mobile for assembly segmentation and analysis, to build a larger assembly bargain and emanate some-more contextually applicable and useful practice for users and for advertisers,” David Mitchell, AccuWeather’s executive clamp boss of rising platforms, said. The association serve suggests that Reveal Mobile’s record “has not been in a focus prolonged adequate to be serviceable yet.”

While a dual companies are branch this into a non-issue ludicrous from a tangible agree concerns, it’s clearly irritating a lot of app users. Without pithy user consent, a AccuWeather app is inspiring user remoteness and will potentially come underneath a FTC’s radar (and substantially Apple’s too). The difficulty is that even with plcae pity enabled, users will assume that a continue app will be regulating their plcae information for accurate continue information, not for offered it to another firm.

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