How Pelmorex Corporation Collects and Uses Canadian Cell Phone Data • iPhone Canada Blog

Image: Open Media

Bryan Short of Consumer Advocacy Group Open Media recently released a report on how Pelmorex Corporation, the company that owns Weather Network and other weather-related apps, collects and uses data from Canadians.

According to the report, Pelmorex is behind the pre-installed weather apps on Apple’s iOS devices and Google’s Android devices. This gives the company a wide playing field when it comes to data collection opportunities.

Through its weather applications, Pelmorex is able to collect users’ IP addresses, locations and web browsing history (via cookies). All of this information is invaluable to advertisers and, in some cases, law enforcement.

For marketing purposes, companies like Environics Analytics may sort the data collected by Pelmorex into demographic categories and geographic areas to allow advertisers to more precisely target their campaigns.

Through its Prizm program, Environics Analytics categorizes Canadians into 67 different groups, ranging from the most affluent to the least affluent, with names like “Sophisticated Asians” for groups on the wealthy side of the spectrum, and names like “Indigenous Families” for the less well-off. groups.

Pelmorex collected user data whenever someone checks the weather on their phone. Usually, “data brokers” like Pelmorex combine the information they collect with other data they have collected or purchased and put it up for sale.

The resulting data is purchased by a third party like BlueDot, who turns around and sells that information to someone else, possibly after combining it with even more data that would make it more useful to buyers.

A recent parliamentary inquiry revealed that the data collected by Pelmorex was eventually sold to the federal government of Canada.

Short sent a data access request for his own data to Pelmorex, but the request was ultimately denied. The company claimed that because it stores users’ IP addresses and location information separately, the data it collects “does not constitute PII. [personally identifiable information] under PIPEDA. »

Short has since filed a complaint with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada regarding Pelmorex’s refusal to grant access to his data.

Pelmorex also operates Canada’s Alert Ready system, which sends emergency alerts wirelessly to cell phones, television and radio.

OpenMedia is also campaigning against the proposed Rogers-Shaw merger, which is expected to go to trial in the competition court at the end of November.

Luisa D. Fuller