Following Markup Investigation, U.S. Regulators Questioned Life360’s Data Practices

Jean J. Sanders

The loved ones security enterprise was approached by regulators about its information income

By: Jon Keegan and Alfred Ng

Originally published on themarkup.org Following Markup Investigation, U.S. Regulators Questioned Life360’s Data Practices

In its 2021 Yearly Report published on Tuesday, the household safety app Lifestyle360 disclosed to investors that it has been approached by unnamed U.S. regulators looking for facts about its info protection techniques. The enterprise cited The Markup’s investigation into its information gross sales as an impetus, indicating requests experienced adopted publication of the write-up.  

“Life360 has acquired requests for details about its knowledge safety procedures from US regulators, including next the publication of an posting by a media outlet identified as The Markup in relation to Life360’s facts business in 4Q21, which Everyday living360 is responding to in because of course,” the enterprise disclosed in the report.

It is unclear which agency is producing the request. The Markup requested the Federal Trade Commission, the Purchaser Money Safety Bureau, and the Securities and Exchange Commission if they ended up the regulator referenced in the report. FTC spokesperson Juliana Gruenwald and CFPB spokesperson Tia Elbaum declined to comment. The SEC did not answer to our requests for remark. We also arrived at out to the attorneys typical for California and New York. The press business office for the California lawyer typical explained it could not validate nor deny any investigation. The New York lawyer general’s business office did not reply to our ask for for remark.   

Privacy specialists have regularly expressed worry about the multibillion-dollar site data sector, which income from buying and selling details about people’s whereabouts. The details frequently features delicate data like where by folks reside, wherever they function, and spots they’ve been, which can all be applied to discover men and women despite the industry’s efforts to anonymize the data. The Markup has also uncovered that knowledge brokers have minor control around exactly where the location facts they promote ends up. 

Daily life360 markets by itself as a family members basic safety app for tracking your loved kinds by means of cellphone site data. Its advertising material promotes its providers to mom and dad of teenagers.

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In December, The Markup disclosed that the organization was, in some situations, offering virtually real-time details on the whereabouts of its 35 million consumers to about a dozen details brokers. Former staff of providers that trade in place info explained the application as one of the premier resources of precise site information in the field. In 2020, location details income produced $16 million for Lifestyle360, generating up just about 20 per cent of the company’s earnings for the calendar year. 

Adhering to The Markup’s report, Lifestyle360 declared it was massively scaling again its offers with details brokers, contracting with only a person knowledge broker, Placer.ai, to market aggregated data for a three-calendar year time period, and with Allstate’s Arity to promote exact data. 

The company’s new once-a-year report captures an eventful yr for the San Francisco–based business, which is publicly traded on the Australian Securities Exchange. In November, the business acquired locale tracker enterprise Tile for more than $200 million, its premier acquisition to day. While earnings and the range of users on the system grew considerably in 2021, Everyday living360 remained unprofitable, and around the course of the previous year its losses additional than doubled, to $33.5 million. 

Lifestyle360 did not respond to our request for comment. 

In a letter to shareholders in the report, Lifetime360 CEO Chris Hulls explained that “indirect revenue” from data product sales and the Arity partnership increased 13 percent yr about 12 months to $25 million.  The corporation has informed buyers that it seeks to go general public in the U.S. in 2022. 

This write-up was initially published on The Markup and was republished below the Imaginative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license.

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