Life360, new owners of Tile, reportedly sells detailed location data to other companies

Life360, new owners of Tile, reportedly sells detailed location data to other companies

Life360 has been around for years as a technology company with various location-based services, including a family tracking app of the same name. Life360 recently purchased Tile, the company behind the Bluetooth tracking devices of the same name, but now might be the time to throw out recycle any Tile trackers you might own.

Life360 acknowledges in its own Privacy Policy that it sells data from its users, but according to The Markup, the company might be one of the largest brokers for personal location information in the industry. According to two former employees of Life360, as well as two people who worked at Cuebiq and X-Mode (two other location data sellers), user data sold by Life360 is reportedly highly valuable due to its sheer volume and precision. One former employee of Cuebiq told The Markup that marketing campaigns at Cuebiq would be far less effective without Life360’s constant flow of location data, and Life360 is believed to sell data to roughly a dozen other companies.

The report also claims one customer of Life360 is Safegraph, which Google recently blocked from being used with Android apps. Safegraph was also providing location data for around 40% of the population of the U.S. state of to the Illinois to the state’s Department of Transportation (with the stated purpose of analyzing traffic data), which in turn was processed by a different company.

It’s essentially impossible to maintain control over your own data once it’s sold to unrelated companies. Two former Life360 employees told The Markup that the sold data is anonymized (any personally-identifiable information is removed), but the company reportedly doesn’t work to prevent location histories from being tracked back to individuals.

Life360 has promised not to sell data from Tile devices, once the acquisition of Tile closes sometime in 2022, but that’s not too comforting of a promise.

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About author

Corbin Davenport
Corbin Davenport

Corbin is a tech journalist and software developer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. He's also the host of the Tech Tales podcast, which explores the history of the technology industry. Follow him on Twitter at @corbindavenport.