We all know that a lot of our data is being sold to advertisers and data miners. But when a company whose existence is all about security and the protection of family members, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth when you realize it’s selling millions of its users’ location data. Popular family safety app Life360 is said to be a ‘firehose of data” for the data industry and worse, there are few safeguards in place to keep the data safe.
The Mark Up reveals this information that they were able to get from former employees of Life360 as well as two other employees that worked at location data brokers Cuebiq and X-Mode. All of them are saying that the family safety company is actually one of the “largest sources of data for the industry” and that the data they are able to get from Life360 is pretty raw and precise.
Both Cuebiq and X-Mode, as well as AllState’s Arrity and Safegraph, are among just some of the companies that Life360 sells its data to and there are potentially more. These are data location companies known to supply data and other information to other industry players that want to use targeted advertising. Another cause for concern, at least for users is that Life360 recently acquired Tile and there’s a lot of data that can be mined from the location tracker.
Life360 founder and CEO Chris Hulls said that they cannot “confirm” if they are indeed the largest source of data but stressed that data is a big part of their business model and allows them to keep their core services for free. He refused to declare all their data partners as there are “confidentiality clauses” in the majority of their business contracts. The fine print of its privacy policies states that data is sold but of course not everyone reads or knows about these things.
The former employees says that while the company assures users that the data is anonymized, they fail to put any safeguards in place to ensure that the data cannot be traced back to individuals. And while there are no known cases where this data has been leaked or used for nefarious purposes. But in this world we live in, this is very possible if the companies who handle data are not careful.