Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said Wednesday that his office has reached a settlement in a lawsuit against the owners of The Weather Channel app regarding use of customers’ personal data.
Feuer alleged in 2019 that TWC Product and Technology LLC, owner and operator of The Weather Channel app, and its parent company, IBM, used misleading and deceptive statements in the app to get users to share their location data under the guise of needing it for personalized weather reports.
“Under our settlement, The Weather Channel app and IBM have agreed to make additional revisions to those disclosures,” Feuer said. “They’re now going to disclose all that missing information, which will help ensure transparency and informed consent by users.
“Users will now clearly know that they have the choice to provide access to their locations that these locations may be given to third parties for ads, and that they can get weather reports without always providing access to their locations,” he said. “Now, I hope this becomes a model, a model for other companies to follow.”
As part of the settlement, IBM will donate $1 million to the city of Los Angeles for contact tracing and issues related to COVID-19, Feuer said.
Feuer said The Weather Channel app is one of the most popular smart phone apps, downloaded by more than by more than 50 million people.
When asked by City News Service about the oversight of the settlement, Feuer said, “Our office will continue to monitor the settlement to assure that it’s being adhered to and, indeed, beyond the four corners of the required disclosures under this settlement …”
He added that the “defendants are required to provide us notice before they make any additional changes to their disclosures, and then we can go to court regarding those changes, if we deem it appropriate.”
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