AccuWeather sends user location data to monetization firm despite iOS privacy settings [u]...



  • Reply 21 of 33
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 1,029member
    These features didn't get into the app by accident. AccuWeather got caught and now they are trying to save face.
  • Reply 22 of 33
    linkman said:
    These features didn't get into the app by accident. AccuWeather got caught and now they are trying to save face.

    Agreed. The million dollar question now is - why is Apple NOT taking action against them immediately? Just pull down the App from App store and then let them go through extensive review process after remediating the code and resubmission. That would send out a strong message to others who do something similar, isn't it? Is that too much to ask for?
  • Reply 23 of 33
    Rayz2016 said:
    Rayz2016 said:

    I thought that if you opted out the iOS itself would prevent the app from posting location data. 

    Heading over the App Store to watch the review carnage unfold. 
    foggyhill said:
    kick it off IOS then. See how they'll like that.

    Isn't that the expectation from users? Surprised to see none of that has happened yet!!!
    Right, I spoke without really understanding what they'd done. 

    iOS will stop the app posting location data, but they weren't using location services, by the looks of it. They used their app to interrogate the router. Because the location info wasn't coming from your actual phone (it is coming from the router you're connecting to) they think they were okay to do that. 

    To me, that's bollox. People who opt out of location services mean that they don't want their location accessed by YOUR APP, regardless of where the app is picking up and deriving the information. This is a betrayal of trust.
    I also did not understand what they had done. Thanks for the info. Why is Apple not taking it down from App store? Is it already remediated?
  • Reply 24 of 33
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,259member
    I've run across a few apps that don't off the option of using Location Services 'While app is in use' or whatever Apple wording is used— just always or never. I avoid those while possible.

    I'm not to concerned of someone aggregating location data to reveal my location in spite of being in Witness Protection. I dislike the fact that using Location Services taxes the battery. I have an iPad that stays in the house and has Location Services turned off. It's 'standby' time is about two weeks before it gets to 50%. That's my arbitrary minimum charge level.

    Another iPad (and my phone) that have LS turned on barely last a couple of days before hitting 50%. So while security (and integrity of the Devs) is an issue for some, my greater concern is battery life.

    Routinely culling the list of apps in LS I'm sometimes surprised to find an app with it turned on, and having no recollection of giving it permission. I tend to automatically deny permission on most apps.

    The Apple Weather app serves me well though I've been fascinated with various weather apps for awhile. There are at least a couple which don't function quite as expected if you don't enable LS and instead opt to just put in a zip code. They seem to be directing you to enable LS instead of entering static information. I don't know why that is but I don't trust the practice. I don't remember which apps they were.

    I also shy away from any app that shouldn't need LS but wants it anyway, even if you can control access to LS satisfactorily.
  • Reply 25 of 33
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,259member
    cgWerks said:
    I've found it best to check through your cellular usage, location, background activity, backup status, etc. every now and then, especially after iOS updates. I've noticed settings flipped on a number of occasions where I'm pretty sure I didn't do it.

    Another thing to watch for, is that it appears one app can pass off permission to another app. For example, if I have cellular data enabled for Safari, but not YouTube... if you click a YouTube video in Safari, it fires up the YouTube app and will use cell data.

    And... then there's stuff like this where it ignores the settings. :(
    I missed your post first time around. As mentioned I've found the same things about apps and Location Services.

    Thinking it may be time to give up my grandfathered ATT 'unlimited' plan, I've been keeping an eye on my cellular data usage. Though YT does get much of my time, I had no idea of it's app's relationship with Safari. Thanks for that info. I'll be watching for similar interaction among my apps, now.

  • Reply 26 of 33
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    I've never used AccuWeather -- but I have been using 'The Weather Channel' app and liking it.  But, I had been wondering why my cell data was so high and blaming it on my use of Apple Music.

    Then, this week I did some research and found that The Weather Channel app was eating my cell data plan alive!  It chewed through nearly 2/3's Gb in a single day!  While it's true that the app offers videos that can chew up cell data, I have never used them much and certainly not anywhere near that much.

    So, what data could this app have been sending or receiving?   There's no way for me to know that...
    ... At the moment I have cell data turned off for the app and am contemplating removing it completely.
    .......  I am wondering if this thing could be transmitting a lot more than weather data?????
  • Reply 27 of 33
    hodarhodar Posts: 351member
    I believe the reason this is happening, is that people with "unlimited" plans, are simply plugging their phones in, and using their phones as a home hotspot, and streaming Netflix, Hulu and everything else at home - thus burning up the data at rates that the normal person would never touch. So, throttling to 480p just seems reasonable.
    Deleted this app years ago. So many fine weather apps out there, and I just wasn't using it. Fave is Dark Sky. 
    Thumbs up for Dark Sky, the micro-point forecast is something I really, really find fascinating. By using the individual barometers in each iPhone that is running the app, it allows for pin-point forecasting of fronts in YOUR area, giving you a minute-by-minute countdown until the rain hits. And, in my experience, it seems to work.
  • Reply 28 of 33
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,686member
    The API they are using isn't private and shouldnt be banned from the app store as plenty of useful admin and network tools use it. Probably the user should be warned that it is being used ( although being a very low level C API  it cant, at the moment, show that alert as far as I know). 

  • Reply 29 of 33
    tdknoxtdknox Posts: 76member
    Surprised that nobody has recommended Carrot Weather yet. It's got customizable amounts of snark and allows you to choose between (the engine behind Dark Sky) or Wunderground as your data source, which an awesome Apple Watch complication if you have a watch. 
  • Reply 30 of 33
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,772member
    Yep. Deleted. Too bad too, because I used it a lot. 

    I'm finding plenty of alternatives.
  • Reply 31 of 33
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,430member
    Abusive marketing continues to ruin ad-sponsored "freeware" for everyone...

    Abusive marketing has already caused ad-blocker products to come along (self-inflicted injuries that advertisers cry and whine about). Let's watch ad-supported apps do the same to themselves.
  • Reply 32 of 33
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,884member
    dysamoria said:
    Abusive marketing continues to ruin ad-sponsored "freeware" for everyone...

    I think we're going to have to start being willing to pay, at least small amounts, for services that fund themselves in better ways. If it's free, WE'RE the product. But, with huge numbers of people, the costs could be quite low and it's still a great business model. I think this is even the case for news outlets, as CPM models are now even struggling. It's because simple 'ad-sponsored' isn't working... at least not the simplistic low-value display-ad.

    The problem in regards to the App store, though, is that they need a better 'demo' mode or well thought out in app purchase strategy. If you're looking for a certain kind of app and there are a bunch that cost $1-$5, most people will try the free ones first because they don't know if the $1-$5 ones are any good. And, even though it's relatively cheap, you still don't want to spend the money to get the same thing that's free, and might still be selling you. If the app is good, we have a way of knowing it's good, and it's clear they don't do any of this baloney, I'm sure most of us would happily pay a few dollars for it.
  • Reply 33 of 33
    macgui said:
    sirlance99 said:
    Additional action like what exactly? What do you expect to do or get? 
    Probably a sternly worded email to the Devs, followed by posts on various forums calling for a class action,  followed by shaking his fist at the sky.

    But doing something meaningful? I have to wonder. I wonder why he didn't say what that additional action would be.
    Class action would destroy them it is much more damaging then just shacking fists..
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