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Security & privacy

Popular app parents use to keep an eye on the kids reportedly selling kids’ and parents’ locations

Technology can play an essential role in keeping your family safe. Your smartphone comes with built-in features like emergency contact lists, emergency SOS and the option to display vital medical information on your lock screen.

The FBI has an app designed to help you find your child if they go missing. It also lets you store vital information about your child, such as height, weight, hair color and ethnicity, to help authorities in their search. Tap or click here for details on how the FBI Child ID app works.

You can keep track of loved ones’ location using the family-sharing features that come with iPhone and Android phones. You can also download third-party apps to track someone’s location, which is helpful to monitor kids. As always, there’s a risk that this information can get into someone else’s hands. A recent report shows that location data from a popular location-based service is being sold.

Here’s the backstory

Life360 is an app designed to let families keep track of each other’s locations. It also lets you track someone’s driving history and alert emergency services in case of a crash. Upgraded memberships provide free towing, ID theft protection, credit monitoring, disaster response travel support and more.

Full disclosure: Life360 used to sponsor The Kim Komando Show.

You’d think you could trust a company built on keeping you safe. But think again. The Markup found that Life360 sells data of 33 million users to about a dozen brokers.

The information comes via former employees at Life360 and data companies Cuebiq and X-Mode, which purchased the data. Other companies like Safegraph and Allstate’s Arity were also clients. X-Mode, SafeGraph and Cuebiq themselves sell data to other companies in the industry in addition to hedge funds and firms that deal in targeted advertising.

Public records show that X-Mode has sold location data to the U.S. Department of Defense, while SafeGraph counts the CDC among its clients.

“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,” Life360 founder and CEO Chris Hulls told The Markup in an email. He didn’t confirm or deny the accusation.

Life360’s privacy policy says the data sold to third parties doesn’t identify users. But there’s a lack of safeguards to prevent others from identifying users behind the data. Life360’s policy also reads that the company doesn’t sell data from users under 13.

According to the report, Life360 made $22 million in 2020 from location data sales.

Opt out now

The Life360 privacy policy states that you can opt out of sharing personal information, including location and movement data. Here’s how to do it:

  • Open the app and tap the Settings gear icon.
  • Tap Privacy & Security.
  • Tap Do Not Sell My Personal Information.
  • Toggle off Personal Information Sales.

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