Comings And Goings

This story pissed me off, for all the usual reasons:

“For years, TWC has deceptively used its Weather Channel App to amass its users’ private, personal geolocation data — tracking minute details about its users’ locations throughout the day and night, all the while leading users to believe that their data will only be used to provide them with ‘personalized local weather data, alerts and forecasts,’” the complaint reads.
The data serves no weather-related purpose, but was only collected in order to allow TWC to turn a profit, the complaint reads. The data was sold to at least 12 third party websites over the past 19 months.
The Weather Channel app has about 45 million users, according to the complaint.
TWC intentionally obscures this information” in a 10,000-word privacy policy “because it recognizes that many users would not permit the Weather Channel App to track their geolocation if they knew the true uses of that data,” the complaint goes on to say.
The lawsuit is seeking an injunction prohibiting TWC from continuing to collect and sell the data, along with civil penalties of up to $2,500 per violation.

Just this week, I went through a store (Forever 21) instead of using a mall entrance because my car was parked closer to the former than the latter.  And on leaving the mall, I went back out the same way.

Needless to say, when I got home I had one of those “personalized”, annoying little requests:  “Tell us about your shopping experience at Forever 21” with a link attached.  Being annoyed, I went there and wrote the following:

“I walked around your store TWICE today, and not once did anyone from your staff offer to help me.  In fact, given that the people I THINK were employees were dressed like customers, it was hard to tell whether there were in fact any employees in the store at all.  Certainly, most people in the store were standing around chatting to their friends and ignoring everyone else completely, so there was no way of telling.  It will be a long time, if ever, before I visit Forever 21 again.”

And every single word of that is true.  Yeah, it’s possible the wrong people will get punished.  I don’t fucking care.  If enough people turn this data snooping around and use it against these “marketing” bastards, maybe they’ll stop using it.  If not… did I mention I don’t fucking care?

And to return to my original gripe:  I deleted the Weather Channel app off my phone, just in case and just because.

A spokesperson for The Weather Company — which operates the Weather Channel – provided CBS2 with the following statement:
“The Weather Company has always been transparent with use of location data; the disclosures are fully appropriate, and we will defend them vigorously.”

Fuck them and their transparency.  I hope the lawsuit costs them many millions, and they go out of business.  And I wish I knew which dozen organizations bought TWC’s tracking data so that I could boycott them too.  If anyone knows who they are, please share that information in Comments.

7 comments

  1. Those folks, TWC annoy me too, I like to use their radar but I have found that if I bring up a new private window the radar site comes up at once, if I click Radar on my regular browser it takes a much longer time depending on when I last cleaned off my cookies. I try to clean cookies a few times a week but I am old an retired and spend too much time reading stuff on my computer. I use two screens and I amuse myself by brining up TWC Radar and watching how long it takes to share my cookies, sometimes almost a minute vs. about five seconds.

    Having said all that I am not a very rich target environment because I am old, my funds are limited and Brownells and Midway get most of my online dollars. As for any other marketing I just screw with folks when they try to call me, I do answer the phone from time to time on unknown calls, try to keep them on the line for awhile and then tell them I will answer every time since I know both the companies and their operators are graded on successful use of phone time. We talk about the weather, about what I am going to fix for lunch, I ask about their families and in a bit they know I am kind of old, bat-shit crazy and they want me on their do not call list, forever.

  2. I have an advantage == my senile coot old woman voice enjoys sharing about my cats and I just got home from the feed store they loaded the bags in my car I’ll unload them but after awhile my back aches me something terrible I know you’re a nice person my back when could you stop by to help you’re such a dear did I thank you that oh Miss Tippy wants a scratchy behind her ears she lost her tail in a fight that was before I got her what time will you be by to help supper that mean Mister Braunstein has a Pug the ugliest dog I declare if I had a dog that ugly I don’t know what I would do if I do you like butterbeans or cream corn I’m partial to something on the sweeter side can you bring ice cream I’m all out strawberry with those chocolate stripes… hello hello I thought you got called away now Mister Paws wants a back scratchy but I don’t always give it to him sometimes he has those little bug thingies you know the name I’m thinking of hello hello I hope your boss is nice I worked for some fine bosses I declare hello hello hello… oh we got cut off I’ll call you back isn’t this caller ID a blessing.

    Hi it’s me now where were we…

    1. That is the funniest thing I have read since my last encounter with P.G. Wodehouse. I thought I was doing well when I kept the telemarketer on the phone enquiring about obtaining a credit card for my gerbil until he cursed me in Hindi and hung up. But you, Madame, have superseded my efforts with such artistic trollery that I can only bow in admiration.

  3. Yep, they’re bastards.

    I run Brave, and recently had a popup window with text for feedback. Told them exactly what I thought about their fucking clickbait ads.

    Shame they’re the best option.

  4. I always thought there was something funny about the TWC app.. it just did weird things for no reason. Now we know why. My go to app for weather is dark sky.. it charges a fee of a few dollars a year, but no pop ups and – this is the important part – the app is the product, not you.

    It also is great for trying to do mostly correct hyper local weather forcast and has all the same stuff TWC has. How local? Like where you are standing, right now, not some generic forecast for your zip code. It’s not always right (what forecast is?), but is usually pretty close.

  5. The reason you were allowed to walk unaccosted through Forever-21 was that the sales staff had you pegged as either “Icky Old-Guy” or “Some Other Girl’s Sugar Daddy” and therefore not worth their time.

    Sometimes, there are benefits to being outside a store’s target demographic.

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