AccuWeather and other iOS weather apps may continuously feed location data to ad servers

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Security research Will Strafach has looked into privacy concerns over popular iOS weather applications such as AccuWeather and locally-packaged generic solutions such as Frank’s Forecast Weather App from KPRC 2 in Houston. The concerns are not new, especially when we’re dealing with pinpoint location data to serve a product, but there is reason to believe that regulators could take a look at these practices.

If you’re particularly sensitive to what ad servers feed you, you might be a little unnerved to learn that when you grant permissions for precise GPS location, unique network identifiers and Bluetooth status to a third-party called Reveal Mobile. The company guarantees its clients that it “extracts the maximum value from [consumers] location data.”

For free apps where a little pop-up ad shows up, that may be just fine to you. But the thing is that even when these apps aren’t in the foreground, all that data is still being pulsed to to Reveal Mobile — 16 times over the course of 36 hours, says Strafach.

He points out that the Federal Trade Commission settled last year with mobile ad network InMobi for creating a geocache of Wi-Fi BSSIDs for advertisers to use.

“Hundreds of apps” report to Reveal Mobile on the daily, so perhaps take a second think over whether you should probably just Google your forecast or hop onto a reputable source’s website or YouTube page.

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About The Author
Jules Wang

Jules Wang is News Editor for Pocketnow and one of the hosts of the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast. He came onto the team in 2014 as an intern editing and producing videos and the podcast while he was studying journalism at Emerson College. He graduated the year after and entered into his current position at Pocketnow, full-time.