Mobile weather information creates an interesting privacy problem. In order to more effectively sell your attention to advertisers, information providers need to know more than just your city. Looks like AccuWeather has gotten caught with its hand a little too far in the cookie jar.


My favorite quote is from the AccuWeather spokesperson:

“This is a quickly evolving legal field and what is best practice one day may change the next; and… we take privacy issues very seriously,” the spokesperson said. “We work to have our [terms of service and agreements] as current as the law is evolving and often beyond that which may be legally required to protect the privacy of our users.”

In other words, “Our lawyers are working quicker than lightning to stay just ahead of the law.”

This is a tough problem. Our business models depend on advertising. But, the “internet of things” is coming for your data. Don’t believe it?

“Society as a whole continues down a path where devices in your home, traditionally our most private space, are largely controlled by other people who want to know what you’re doing,”

There is an easy fix. Opt-in. If users had to tap “Allow” for every piece of data collected Facebook would dry up and blow away, and the AccuWeather legal team might not have to work as hard to “protect the privacy of our users (from us)”.


About Kevin Selle

Chief Meteorologist, KFDX-TV. Co-host, WeatherBrains.
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2 Responses to AccuLocation

  1. A friend of mine put something up about this a couple of days ago. I looked up the place, and they are data mining/ web marketing to the extreme.

    But I have to admit, I wonder if this will be a bit of a moment in weather apps where a place like Accu-weather forces you to make a choice about using their weather forecasts in an obvious manner: either give up your location and other data, give us say 5 bucks a month to access the videos, forecasts, and other features; or uninstall the app and go somewhere else. I know some stations, like the local TV stations across the US that use Accu-Weather graphics packages, may cringe at the possibility of losing some promotion. But you and I know processing all that data and information as well as paying the forecasters doesn’t come cheap.

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