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AccuWeather Gathering Location Data Even When Location Services Is Disabled

iOS weather app AccuWeather has been gathering data about your location even if you told it not to in Settings > Privacy > Location Services. Security researcher Will Strafach found that the app sends your Wi-Fi router name and MAC address to data monetization firm Reveal Mobile every few hours. Although Reveal Mobile claimed it was never tracking individual devices, the Wi-Fi router and MAC address data could be used to determine your location. AccuWeather says that it’s updating its app to eliminate this behavior, but we recommend switching to another weather app and deleting AccuWeather on principle. There must be consequences for such a blatant disregard for user privacy, and all we users can do is vote with our feet.favicon follow link


Comments about AccuWeather Gathering Location Data Even When Location Services Is Disabled
(Comments are closed.)

Anonymous  2017-08-23 15:29
Thank you so much for letting me know I gave it the foot in the boot left kick.
gastropod  2017-08-23 17:53
I wonder how many other apps do this and similar things but don't get caught. I suspect that it's pretty common, and the app developers may not even know because so many developers use third party frameworks that they don't have any control over. With luck, Apple will stop making the router details available to apps if location is turned off, but I doubt it will make it into iOS 11.0, and I doubt it would solve enough potential leaks anyway.

Apple really needs to add a 'block network connection' option, too. It wouldn't help with apps that actually need to use the net like weather apps, but I've had apps that I would otherwise love, but even though they have no valid reason to use the net, they're chatty anyway according to cell data usage, so I toss them.
I'm a bit confused about what information is actually valid. The WIFI router could be the one that happens to be available while one is "out-and-about". The "location" could be quite different in a matter of minutes and is often way off from ones actual location.

I can see how the MAC address would identify the phone to you once that combination is determined as it is unique to the device.

Is there a reliable source to find out what other apps are ignoring our settings? Be good to hear how Apple will respond.
David Grant  2017-08-28 21:23
I came to the same conclusion after hearing about this unacceptabke behavior. Deleted and no amount if weasel-worded justifications will bring me back.