Tile buyer Life360 reportedly sells precise user location data to nearly anyone

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2021
Tile purchaser Life360, which calls itself a "family safety platform," has been selling precise location data on its millions of users, a new report alleges.

Life360 reportedly selling precise location data to brokers.
Life360 reportedly selling precise location data to brokers.


Life360 is said to be selling location data from both adults and children to a dozen various data brokers, which then provide the information to other third parties, The Markup reported Monday, citing former Life360 and data broker employees.

Additionally, the two former Life360 staffers said that the company is one of the largest providers of location data, adding that Life360 doesn't appear to take the necessary precautions to ensure that user privacy is preserved.

In a statement to The Markup, Life360 CEO Chris Hulls said the company has "no means to confirm or deny the accuracy" of whether Life360 is a large source of location data for the industry.

"We see data as an important part of our business model that allows us to keep the core Life360 services free for the majority of our users, including features that have improved driver safety and saved numerous lives," Hulls said.

While Life360 removes the most obvious personally identifiable information, it doesn't take steps to aggregate or reduce location precision, the former employees said.

An engineer who used to work for location data provider X-Mode said that Life360's raw location data was one of its "most valuable offerings," due to the sheer volume and precision of the information.

Life360 has reportedly sold data to brokers like Cuebiq, X-Mode, Safegraph, and Arity. While the company does list its data sharing practices in its privacy policy, it doesn't have a complete list of the brokers it shares data with.

The company's CEO said that partners are also listed when they request transparency or if there's a reason to list them. Hulls confirmed that X-Mode was among "approximately one dozen data partners" that the company works with.

Hulls told The Markup that the company would be supportive of legislation that requires the listing of its data partners.

Life360 is an app used for family location tracking, such as the tracking of teenagers by their parents. The company does admit that location data is sold in its privacy policy, but notes that it doesn't share the location of users under 13 years old.

Back in November, Tile -- an AirTag competitor and Apple antitrust critic -- was acquired by Life360 in a $250 million deal.


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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,768member
    Not about Apple so DOJ won't go after them especially since their buddies in the FBI can use this data.
    viclauyyc12Strangersllamaigorskywilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 19
    crowleycrowley Posts: 9,343member
    Sure sounds like Tile did their due diligence on who they were selling out to.
    rob53AppleUfmyImuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 19
    red oakred oak Posts: 919member
    Tile must have known about this when they agreed to the sale.  You have to be nuts to use Tile 

    What sick people
    genovellewilliamhviclauyyc12StrangersAppleUfmyIwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 19
    Wtf is up with all these spam banners that has started to pop up all over appleinsider.com ? And they keep reappearing until you accept all the ad crap. Has AI been hacked …or has this site just gone totally insane?

    We value your privacy  →  Accept all

    Admiral
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 19
    I never got into Tile because of the non-replaceable batteries. Everything else about them seemed great though. Well lucky me. I'm using AirTags now.
    viclauyycwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 19
    This is pretty creepy news.  It shouldn’t be legal to hide this kind of info deep in a user privacy agreement.  It should be required to be plainly stated in short bullet statements what data is collected and sold to third parties.  There should be a clear opt in to this collection and sale, before clicking accept.  This is up there with google and cell phone providers selling the info to third parties.  This should be the big newsworthy crusade that congress is working on, not making it harder for apple to compete against foreign companies who have too cozy a relationship with their home country’s government.  
    12Strangersbaconstangviclauyycwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 19
    Apple please make air tag able to make your phone ring, even when on silent, so you can find your phone from your keys, instead of logging into iCloud.  This is the only reason I still have my Tile.  Fix this and I replace it with an AirTag 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 19
    XedXed Posts: 1,182member
    Tile's CEO CJ Prober asked Congress to investigate Apple's business practices after they announced AirTags. Hopefully Congress investigates Tile's business practices and keeps this deal from going though to protect users.

    I never got into Tile because of the non-replaceable batteries. Everything else about them seemed great though. Well lucky me. I'm using AirTags now.
    I think most Tile options have user-replaceable batteries.
  • Reply 9 of 19
    Xed said:
    Tile's CEO CJ Prober asked Congress to investigate Apple's business practices after they announced AirTags. Hopefully Congress investigates Tile's business practices and keeps this deal from going though to protect users.

    I never got into Tile because of the non-replaceable batteries. Everything else about them seemed great though. Well lucky me. I'm using AirTags now.
    I think most Tile options have user-replaceable batteries.
    I was just getting ready to say the same thing.
  • Reply 10 of 19
    Xed said:
    Tile's CEO CJ Prober asked Congress to investigate Apple's business practices after they announced AirTags. Hopefully Congress investigates Tile's business practices and keeps this deal from going though to protect users.

    I never got into Tile because of the non-replaceable batteries. Everything else about them seemed great though. Well lucky me. I'm using AirTags now.
    I think most Tile options have user-replaceable batteries.
    Yes except for the credit card size wallet tile and the button.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 19
    I considered getting a Tile because of the broader compatibility and I switch between iPhone and android use. Glad I never did though. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 19
    Xed said:
    </>
    I think most Tile options have user-replaceable batteries.
    When I was considering them they hadn't. You had to send your old tiles back in after a year to get replacements at a discount. It was a big point of discussion back then. But their scheme succeeded and made them big. The replaceable batteries came later.
    edited December 2021 watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 19
    Crap.  I am yanking the batteries from the two tiles I own and removing the app.  Tile, I DO NOT AGREE WITH YOUR TERMS IF SERVICE AND PRIVACY POLICY.   Thus, I am dumping your product.  

    Apple, please let me share my AirTag so the whole family can track our dogs!   
    Alex_Vviclauyycred oakwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 19
    XedXed Posts: 1,182member
    Crap.  I am yanking the batteries from the two tiles I own and removing the app.  Tile, I DO NOT AGREE WITH YOUR TERMS IF SERVICE AND PRIVACY POLICY.   Thus, I am dumping your product.  

    Apple, please let me share my AirTag so the whole family can track our dogs!   
    The lack of sharing with your family is a bit annoying at this point. My wife and I can track each other's devices but we can't share the location of the AirTags and it's not reasonable that we each should have an AirTag with shared objects.
    AppleUfmyIapplguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 19
    Once again folks. If you want privacy, find an old cell phone with none of the tracking capability apps (whoops, all of them may have tracking or habit monitoring). Oh, by the way, for years the cell towers track your precise location whenever any recent cell phone is on. The cops can get that data easily, so it has become nearly impossible to remain "lost" for whatever reason.

    Coin operated road side phones are in my memory at age 76. Have not seen an operational one in decades....

    Here in the UK where I am now, cameras are everywhere. They are becoming a fixture at nearly every stop light in the USA. There are  satellites that can "see" if you shaved today. So much for our privacy. 

    Review George Orwell's "1984" and we are living there in spades.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 19
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,497member
    rob53 said:
    Not about Apple so DOJ won't go after them especially since their buddies in the FBI can use this data.
    The problem is all of this may be perfectly legal, even if it's horribly unethical and sleazy. If the Terms of Use state that they can sell your location then there may be nothing authorities can do. 
  • Reply 17 of 19
    MplsP said:
    rob53 said:
    Not about Apple so DOJ won't go after them especially since their buddies in the FBI can use this data.
    The problem is all of this may be perfectly legal, even if it's horribly unethical and sleazy. If the Terms of Use state that they can sell your location then there may be nothing authorities can do. 
    They can make the sale of location data illegal.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 19

    Crap.  I am yanking the batteries from the two tiles I own and removing the app.  Tile, I DO NOT AGREE WITH YOUR TERMS IF SERVICE AND PRIVACY POLICY.   Thus, I am dumping your product.  

    Apple, please let me share my AirTag so the whole family can track our dogs!   
    Dumping Tile now is too late. They already have your past data.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 19
    Data security is like the hoses in the field because the barn door was left open. The only difference is there is NO way to close the door and delete the sold data.
    watto_cobra
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