IBMs Weather Channel App Sharing User Location Data

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IBMs Weather Channel App Sharing User Location Data
Short Title IBMs Weather Channel App Was Found Sharing User Location Data with Hedge Funds
Location Global
Date 2018

Solove Harm Aggregation, Secondary Use, Surveillance, Disclosure
Information Computer Device, Location, Behavioral
Threat Actors The Weather Company, IBM Corp.

Affected Users of Weather Channel App
High Risk Groups
Tangible Harms

The Weather Channel app told users that sharing their locations would be used to make local weather reports more personalized. However, location data of the users were found to be sent to hedge funds.


In 2018 The Weather Channel app owned by IBM subsidiary, was found to be sending user location data to hedge funds without properly informing the usersDisclosure. Since the company told the users that their location data would only be used for personalization of weather reports, it can be seen as Secondary Use.

Besides, even though, a user might be aware of the purposes such a constant collection of location data is an example of Surveillance.

Many businesses in location-targeted advertising claim that they use anonymized data and are interested in patterns rather than identities. However, the amount of location data collected reveals a lot about individuals. This is an example of Aggregation.

At the end of 2018 IBM updated the app’s privacy policy after queries from the media.

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