Life360, a preferred monitoring app that bills itself as “the world’s main household security service,” is purportedly promoting location knowledge on the 31 million households and youngsters that use it to knowledge brokers. The chilling revelation could make customers of the Tile Bluetooth tracker, which is being bought by Life360, assume twice earlier than persevering with to make use of the system.
Life360’s knowledge promoting practices had been revealed in a damning report revealed by the Markup on Monday. The report claims that Life360 sells location knowledge on its customers to roughly a dozen knowledge brokers, a few of which have offered knowledge to U.S. authorities contractors. The info brokers then proceed to promote the situation knowledge to “nearly anybody who desires to purchase it.” Life360 is purportedly one of many largest sources of knowledge for the business, the outlet discovered.
Whereas promoting location knowledge on households and youngsters is already alarming, what’s much more scary is that Life360 is purportedly failing to take steps to guard the privateness of the info it sells. This might probably enable the situation knowledge, which the corporate says is anonymized, to be linked again to the individuals it belongs to.
It’s vital to notice that Life360 does disclose in its privateness coverage that it sells the info it obtains from customers. Nevertheless, they could not know that their knowledge can find yourself within the fingers of anybody who desires to purchase it, or that their identification may very well be revealed. Life360 maintains that its contracts forbid its knowledge dealer clients from re-identifying customers.
The Markup primarily based its report on interviews with former staff of Life360 and former staff of the info brokers that purportedly purchase knowledge from the corporate, all of whom had been supplied anonymity.
Chris Hulls, Life360’s CEO, told the Markup that the company could not “confirm or deny” the accuracy that it was one of the largest sources of data for the industry. He also said selling location data allowed it to offer free services. These embody location sharing, location ETAs, household driving studies, two days of location historical past, and battery monitoring, amongst others.
“We see knowledge as an vital a part of our enterprise mannequin that permits us to maintain the core Life360 providers free for almost all of our customers, together with options which have improved driver security and saved quite a few lives,” Hulls stated.
Life360 advised Gizmodo on Monday that it was making ready a response to the Markup’s report. It claimed that the outlet’s report was filled with misinformation and inaccuracies that it was taking additional motion on. As well as, Life360 affirmed that solely a small a part of the data it supplied the outlet had been included within the report and that the quotes revealed weren’t correct and had been taken out of context.
Nonetheless, promoting location knowledge on households and youngsters has confirmed to be an vital monetary lifeline for Life360, based on the Markup. The outlet reported that Life360 has struggled to make a revenue and reported a lack of $16.3 million final yr.
Living proof: Life360 obtained $693,000 from promoting location knowledge in 2016, however that quantity appears paltry now. In 2020, the corporate made $16 million from promoting location knowledge, or 20% of its income, the Markup discovered. On prime of that, it additionally earned $6 million from a partnership with the Arity, a mobility knowledge and analytics firm based by Allstate, that yr.
So far as Tile goes, Hulls, Life360’s CEO, advised the Markup that the corporate has no plans to promote location knowledge from Tile units.
You possibly can try the Markup’s report in full here.