LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The Los Angeles city attorney’s office announced Friday that it has sued the parent company of the Weather Channel, alleging that for years it has misleadingly and unlawfully collected and sold the private data of its mobile app users.
In its lawsuit against Time Warner Cable, filed in L.A. County Superior Court, the city attorney’s office claims that the company tracks the exact location of its Weather Channel app users, and then sells that private information to advertisers without its users’ knowledge.
“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.
The data serves no weather-related purpose, but was only collected in order to allow TWC to turn a profit, the complaint reads. The data was sold to at least 12 third party websites over the past 19 months.
The Weather Channel app has about 45 million users, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit is seeking an injunction prohibiting TWC from continuing to collect and sell the data, along with civil penalties of up to $2,500 per violation.
”We allege TWC elevates corporate profits over users’ privacy, misleading them into allowing their movements to be tracked, 24/7,” City Attorney Mike Feuer said. “We’re acting to stop this alleged deceit.”
A spokesperson for The Weather Company — which operates the Weather Channel – provided CBS2 with the following statement:
“The Weather Company has always been transparent with use of location data; the disclosures are fully appropriate, and we will defend them vigorously.”