The Los Angeles municipality filed a lawsuit this weekend against The Weather Channel, a company that runs a popular weather app, claiming it is breaking the law and selling private information about its users, the New York Times reports .
The Weather Channel, which was acquired by IBM (IBM) three years ago, runs a TV channel by the same name and at the same time has an app that has already received over 100 million downloads from Google Play, and has more than 45 million active users a month as of August 2018. City Attorneys claim While the app is requesting permission to access the user’s location at the time of installation, to show it the relevant forecast, it “forgets” to note that it also sells location history to advertising and investment companies.
The lawsuit states that it was filed following a New York Times investigation last month that indicated that location information collected from phones could be used to track people, and gave the example of The Weather Channel app and its allegedly innocent permission request. Another app mentioned in the investigation was WeatherBug, which has more than 10 million downloads, but it does indicate during the permission request that the location information is also used for publication.
Los Angeles City Attorney Michael Foyer claims in the lawsuit that the app’s conduct constitutes “fraud and deception,” which violates California competition laws. It requires the company to reimburse its customers for up to $ 2,500 per breach. Speaking to The New York Times, he added that because this conduct constitutes a violation not only of California, he hopes his lawsuit will be an opening shot for lawsuits and legislation across the United States.