December 7, 2021 11:12:40 am
Tile Inc was acquired by Life360 towards the end of last month. The deal was worth $205 million and the acquiring company Life 360, calls itself a “family safety platform.” However, a new report by The Markup suggests that the move could be a big red flag as Life360 is reportedly selling location data to data brokers.
This is even more worrying because the popular family safety app is used by about 33 million people worldwide and is popular among parents trying to keep an eye on their kids using their cellphones. Hence, the company’s location data likely includes that of children and families.
Two anonymous individuals who formerly worked at location data brokers Cuebiq and X-Mode have revealed to The Markup that the app “acts as a firehose of data for a controversial industry that has operated in the shadows with few safeguards to prevent the misuse of this sensitive information.”
A former X-mode engineer also said that the location data received by the company from Life360 was one of the company’s most valuable offerings due to the “sheer volume and precision of the data.” The report also states that the company made $16 million in 2020 alone just by selling location data on users.
Life360 founder and CEO Chris Hulls neither confirmed nor denied the accuracy of the company being amongst the largest sources of data for the industry. “We see data as an important part of our business model that allows us to keep the core Life360 services free for the majority of our users, including features that have improved driver safety and saved numerous lives,” he adds, as per the report.
With the company now acquiring Tile, a popular company in the Bluetooth-based tracking devices scene, more eyes have been turning to the company’s practices. While Hulls has said that the company has no plans to sell data from Tile devices, how users feel about the revelation may not exactly inspire safety.
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