Over the past month, we’ve seen a category 5 firestorm come out with The Weather Company, who owns The Weather Channel app. The city of Los Angeles is suing The Weather Company for allegedly using the tracking data to do more than just know your location, and customize your forecast with the appp. It’s being accused by the city of taking that data, and selling it to third parties without your permission. The news story is here:
And that’s the key: permission. If you ever use a Google app or product, for free, you will clearly see in their Terms and Conditions that your usage can (and will) be sold to third-party vendors. In other words, if they see you in, oh, say, a restaurant or a store with your GPS showing that you are there, you could see ads in the apps you use for that store, or one nearby. If you use Gmail, they search for keywords that might link you to a product or service they think you’re looking for. And of course, if you use the Google search engine, and search for dog food…be ready to see a barrage of dog food ads in your Google-based searches and apps, and third-party ad servers to web sites!
Now, many companies do this. It’s perfectly legal and fine UNLESS you don’t give consent for them to do so. Selling that data is how Google makes money. You don’t think making a search engine and apps doesn’t cost a lot of money? It does, and they have to pay for it somehow. Data mining is how they do it.
But early this month, the city of Los Angeles dropped a bombshell on The Weather Company: they were allegedly doing this without permission. If that is true, and that remains to be seen, it’s a big no-no. And a bunch of lawyers are going to have a field day with this, regardless of who wins.
So, in light of these and other non-weather related data mining stories that have come out, what about AllisonHouse? Do we mine your data in Maps or any customers we support and sell?
The answer: no. We give you the data, and if you want to use the data for your little league game, waterpark, we don’t care. Now, if you offer us a testimonial and we publish it, everyone can know who you are and how you use it. But we aren’t going to sell that, either.
In short, AllisonHouse believes our products sell itself, along with promotional ads, social media, and our website to tell you what we offer. But we don’t sell your web browsing or how you use our services. We want to keep that…between you and me. Now, go enjoy our services, knowing you won’t see us digitally looking over your shoulder as you use them.