LA City Attorney Settles Location Privacy Suit Against The Weather Channel App

On Wednesday, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced that his office settled a lawsuit brought against TWC Product and Technology (TWC), the maker and operator of The Weather Channel app, and its parent company International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) to remedy the defendants’ inadequate disclosures for location tracking and sharing in the Weather Channel app.

The complaint claimed that TWC and IBM used the app’s location tracking technology to monitor users, including keeping track of where users live, work, and visit. The information was purportedly shared with third parties without proper disclosure to users. After the suit, TWC and IBM modified the disclosures for users when they agree to allow location tracking.

The settlement, signed by the Honorable Mark V. Mooney of the California State Superior Court in Los Angeles County, called for more revisions to the disclosures reflecting the desired language for increased transparency and informed consent. The defendants will also provide City Attorney Feuer with advance notice and the chance to legally challenge any future changes to the disclosures that occur over the next two years.

“Personal privacy in the digital age is one of the most pressing issues of the 21st Century,” City Attorney Feuer said. “Our successful work to ensure meaningful consumer notice and consent and to hold The Weather Channel App accountable puts other Apps on notice: We’re monitoring their practices and will continue to be vigilant in fighting for consumers.”

The City Attorney noted that while this is not part of the settlement, IBM will donate electronic equipment to help the city and county with their contact tracing efforts and Los Angeles’ needed data storage.

The suit was dismissed with prejudice. Representatives from the Office of the Los Angeles City Attorney represented the people of California. TWC and IBM are represented by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP.