Families would probably not like the slogan, ‘You can watch where your kids are, and so can anyone who buys this information.'”
– Justin Sherman, Duke Tech Policy Lab fellow
An app that claims to be a family safety service selling exact location data to several other companies, this is a total disaster.”
– Wolfie Christl, researcher
Life360 has faced concerns over privacy in the past. In mid-2020, teens, displeased at the privacy invasion of an app that allowed their parents to minutely track their movements, took to TikTok to encourage their peers to bomb the app with negative reviews. Over the course of a month, the app received more than a million one-star reviews, driving the average rating down from 4.6 to 2.7 stars.Hulls responded by adding a “bubbles” feature that shows parents a more vague location of their child (but still allows parents to see exact locations with an additional step). He also recruited and paid teens to hawk the app on TikTok, resulting in a “viral surge in downloads,” according to the company. Those teens, however, were likely not aware that their parents were hardly the only ones privy to data on their movements. Samira Madi, an 18-year-old student in Texas, started using Life360 when she was 15. She didn’t have a problem with the company sharing her location data for marketing and advertising purposes, which the company readily disclosed.After learning about who Life360 was selling data to, and the scale it was sold at, Madi felt that the company crossed a line. “I had no idea it would be passed around this way,” Madi said in an email. “This concerns me because I would not want my location data to possibly be sold to people with ill intentions.”This article was originally published on The Markup and was republished under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license.