Tile Owner Life360 To Stop Selling “Precise” User Data

You might recall that Bluetooth tracking device Tile was bought by a company called Life360, who it was discovered had a very bad reputation for selling all the data it could to make the most amount of money possible. I was wondering this at the time:

So Tile users, this is who has purchased your location tracking service. They don’t sound like the best people, and I for one would interested to see how Life360 responds to this so that their purchase of Tile doesn’t go down the tubes.

We have a sign of how Life360 is going to respond. They’re going to stop selling “precise” user data:

The family safety app Life360 announced on Wednesday that it would stop selling precise location data, cutting off one of the multibillion-dollar location data industry’s largest sources.  The decision comes after The Markup revealed that Life360 was supplying up to a dozen data brokers with the whereabouts of millions of its users. 

In a quarterly activities report released to its investors on the Australian Securities Exchange, Life360’s founder and CEO Chris Hulls announced that Life360 will phase out all of its location data deals, except with Allstate’s Arity. Life360 is a San Francisco–based company publicly traded on the Australian exchange, but it has plans to go public in the U.S. this year. 

And:

Life360’s report described the arrangement as a “new data partnership” that “significantly advances privacy initiatives.”

“Life360 recognises that aggregated data analytics (for example, 150 people drove by the supermarket) is the wave of the future and that businesses will increasingly place a premium on data insights that do not rely on device-level or other individual user-level identifiers,” Hulls said in the announcement. 

He said that selling aggregate location data would mean “reducing business risk” for the company. Hulls did not elaborate on what those risks were. The deal with Placer.ai does not include data from the companies Tile and Jiobit, both of which Life360 announced acquisitions of last year.  

To be honest, I am not sure if this will put Tile users minds at ease. Assuming that they still use Tile as there have been reports of Tile users dumping the product when these issues came to light. But the flip side to that is that at least Life360 recognizes that they have a problem. Let’s see if that recognition pays off for them.

One Response to “Tile Owner Life360 To Stop Selling “Precise” User Data”

  1. […] location data of their customers as part of their business model. And when that came to light they had to alter what data they sold because of the blowback. So perhaps the truth is that it’s not Apple’s fault, it’s your business model […]

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