AccuWeather app caught sending iOS user location data, even when location sharing is off

“Popular weather app AccuWeather has been caught sending geolocation data to a third-party data monetization firm, even when the user has switched off location sharing,” Zack Whittaker reports for ZDNet. “AccuWeather is one of the most popular weather apps in Apple’s app store, with a near perfect four-star rating and millions of downloads to its name. But what the app doesn’t say is that it sends sensitive data to a firm designed to monetize user locations without users’ explicit permission.”

“Security researcher Will Strafach intercepted the traffic from an iPhone running the latest version of AccuWeather and its servers and found that even when the app didn’t have permission to access the device’s precise location, the app would send the Wi-Fi router name and its unique MAC address to the servers of data monetization firm Reveal Mobile every few hours,” Whittaker reports. “That data can be correlated with public data to reveal an approximate location of a user’s device.”

“While AccuWeather’s privacy says that the company and its partners may use geolocation tracking technologies, its privacy policy doesn’t specifically state that this data will be used for advertising, Strafach told ZDNet,” Whittaker reports. “‘Essentially I see a few problems,’ he said. ‘AccuWeather get GPS access under an entirely innocent premise — no users expect the location data to be used this way,’ he said. Several people have tweeted at Strafach in recent days to say they have deleted the app, based on his findings.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Two words: Dark Sky.


  1. Word to the wise: STOP USING 3RD PARTY APPS FOR THINGS IOS DOES NATIVE, your being redundant.

    With location services for weather enabled, iOS Spotlight search automagically post your local weather in the search results field.

    1. Update –
      Looked up Dark Sky as others have recommended, but it seems to predict rain within next hour fairly accurately, not so good on a few days ahead, as far as I can tell. I already have Rain Alarm for this and it uses your location and is spot on, especially if you’re going to put washing on the line or go for a walk. Also slightly cheaper than dark Sky (at least in the UK).

  2. If you don’t want to pay for Dark Sky, other free apps (Apple App Store now ridiculously calls them GET) are available.

    Love Yahoo weather for the graphic of sunrise and sunset and windmills for wind speed. Also very good the Weather Channel and Weather Bug. NOAA has a pair of good apps (NOAA Weather and My Radar) but feature basic functions for free, unless you upgrade …

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