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This creepy kid tracking app has been selling the precise location of your kids for years

Location data has even been sold to the CDC and Department of Defense.

crowd of people with data points over their heads via facial recognition
Image: KnowTechie

It’s bad enough that most services sell your data to others to make a quick buck, but when it’s a service billing itself as a safety feature? Yikes. That’s exactly what Life360, the tracking software used by millions worldwide, is doing.

A new report from The Markup says the company is selling precise location data to about a dozen data brokers. That number is likely on the low end, as it doesn’t account for all the companies that those brokers service.

Yes, you read that correctly. That’s an app that you use to track your family’s location, for their safety. Selling your family’s precise location data to data brokers. Who then sells that location data to literally anyone who is willing to pay for it.

They’re so successful at it that former employees and some of the data brokers call Life360 “one of the largest sources of data for the industry.”

It’s not hard to see why, with Life360’s app not just sharing location data, but also how fast people are driving, how much battery their cell phone has, and more. It’s free to use for the core product, with some advanced features requiring payment.

The raw location data sold to data brokers has ended up in governmental agencies, such as the CDC as part of the COVID-19 tracking efforts, and even to the Department of Defence. While Life360 does have a policy against sales to the government for law enforcement use, that policy only went into effect in 2020. Life360 has been selling location data to its partners since 2016.

The story gets muddier with Life360 adding more location tracking companies to its portfolio this year. Tracking hardware company Jiobit was purchased for $37 million earlier this year, and Tile is being acquired for $205 million. Sure, Life360’s CEO says they have no plans to sell the data from those devices at this time, but plans change.

If you’re a user of Life360 who doesn’t want their location data sold, you can opt-out. Head to Settings > Privacy & Security > Do Not Sell My Personal Information and then toggle the switch next to Personal Information Sales.

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