A recent report revealed a disquieting fact about AccuWeather. It seems that the popular app has been collecting information regarding the users’ geolocation and then sold it to third-party companies, all this without receiving any clear user agreement. Apparently, they were able to collect such kind of information even when location was turned off.
Will Strafach, a security researcher, was the one who managed to find out how AccuWeather recorded this kind of data. He managed to come across the data traffic sent by the iPhone version of weather app to a server. Among the data the app was sending, it was also the name and the MAC address of the router the phone was connected to.
ZDNet started a report and verified Strafach’s claims, being able to confirm everything was true. AccuWeather transmitted the data to the third-party company Reveal Mobile, which deals with data monetization. The data the app collects and then sends away, together with other data shared publicly by a user’s device, can lead to an accurate pinpointing of the user’s location.
AccuWeather can transfer your data even after you have turned location off
What is even more worrying is the fact that this data transfer works even when location sharing is turned off. When it’s switched on, it can share one’s location in detail, including data related to latitude, longitude, altitude, or speed. Everything reaches the third-party company, and users are not even aware of how much they share.
When questioned about it, AccuWeather said they had just started their collaboration with Reveal Mobile, and they hadn’t used any information yet. However, this doesn’t bring much comfort to the distressed users, who didn’t give their permission for the data sharing.
If you read AccuWeather’s policy closely, it states that it might make use of geolocation technologies to offer you the information you need, and the same applies for its partners. However, there’s no mention of using this data for advertising. It’s obvious that a weather app needs to know where you’re located, but it doesn’t need to share that data to send you ads.
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