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The Weather Channel app claims to be "the world's most downloaded weather app" with around 45 million monthly active users.

The app gathers people's geolocation data, ostensibly to give users more targeted forecasts.

The city attorney of Los Angeles on Thursday sued the Weather Company, which is owned by IBM, according to The New York Times. The Weather Channel seen on TV was not acquired by IBM and is owned by a different company. He says that users unwittingly agreed to further use of this data because details about how the app operator meant to use it were buried deep in a lengthy privacy policy document.

Today, the city of Los Angeles filed a lawsuit against the makers of the hugely popular Weather Channel app for "covertly mining the private data of users and selling the information to third parties, including advertisers".

Feuer said the information amassed "is allegedly used for targeted advertisements by at least a dozen third party websites over the past 19 months based on locations users frequent, and has been by hedge funds interested in analyzing consumer behavior".

"For years, TWC 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 complaint reads.

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"If the price of getting the weather forecast is the sacrifice of your most personal info about where you spend your time, you need to be clearly told in advance", Feuer said. "But we allege TWC elevates corporate profits over users' privacy, misleading them into allowing their movements to be tracked, 24/7".

IBM, on the other hand, has defend its stand saying the company has been open about its data practices and that it will defend its disclosures "vigorously".

The City of Los Angeles, which filed the suit in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, seeks penalties up to $2,500 per violation, and wants the company to halt practices the city calls "unfair and fraudulent". The EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has a lot to say about companies that take people's personal data for one objective but use it for another, and fines stretch as high as 4% of global revenue.

As Feuer points out, the company is effectively tricking its users into turning on location services for the app, without disclosing precisely how that location information will be used.

TWC, according to the complaint, has been able to convince about 80 per cent of users to grant access to geolocation data.


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