Accuweather Spins Weather Service Laws

from the storm-clouds-ahead dept

It’s amazing just how different two parties can make the exact same legislation look. Remember back in April when Accuweather convinced its Senator to propose a bill that would stop the National Weather Service from feeding its data to the public? Right, well, apparently Accuweather is now sending out emails to many of its subscribers telling them to speak up in support of the bill. Of course, they (so convenient of them) skip the part where the bill bans the NWS from giving out the info to the public for free and instead focuses on the part that would force the NWS to provide real-time, rather than delayed, info — but only to certain commercial providers, such as (you guessed it!), Accuweather. Funny how that works…

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Accuweather Spins Weather Service Laws”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Jamie Holly (user link) says:

The problem is....

I have been following Senate Bill 786 very closley. The problem is it is not all the clear on what the NWS will be allowed and not be allowed to do. It does focus on the part you say about removing the forecasting from the NWS and putting it on the private sector, which is a crime in its self since we are the ones paying for the NWS through our tax dollars.
Another interesting thing I have read on this scandalous bill is how the NWS should focus on hurricanes and major storms and not forecasting. Is Senator Santorum that much of an idiot. To predict bad storms that means you have to predict weather period. Sometimes those predicitions must come up nice and sunny but they have to be done none the less.
The other part that interests me is the fact that the forecast data is supplied in their own xml format. Its not something that a typical RSS reader would even read. So to the common internet user, this means nothing. The problem AccuWeather is fearing is that people will come up with freeware or shareware programs utilizing the feed and may hurt them. But if you consider it, it may cost accuweather 1% at most of their business. It will just force them to be more competitive which is something businesses dont want in today monopolized society.

Brandon (user link) says:

Re: The problem is....

It might cost them more than that.

There is also an actual portal now:

And if bigger portals like Y! can get the data without paying someone else, they probably will eventually.

Not that I agree with this legislation or their attempt to prevent people from using the data we pay our government to collect.

joe blow (user link) says:

beware of Accu Weather

Beware of anything AccuWeather does…remember they are a private business with their own self interests. They will do whatever they can to make more money for themselves(himself)…though this latest twist with getting into bed with Rick Santorum is scary. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that since 1999 employees at AccuWeather donated at least $5,500 to Santorum. To be fair, same with Arlen Specter but notice not as much. See We all know that corporations buy public officials through campain donations all the time and it looks to me that AccuWeather has made an influence on one idiot, but it’s sad when it touches the field of meteorology, a once innocent profession. Of course the NWS and growth of NWS products on the web hurts them. How can it not? Why would anyone pay for the same weather data and service twice? Your taxes already pay for it once. AccuWeather is threatened by the NWS because they see, as do the general public and current AccuWeather customers, that the NWS is putting out quality stuff in a timely manner. This ain’t your father’s weather sevice anymore (though it’s been around a lot longer than AccuWeather). Back in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s when AccuWeather reigned the NWS was ineffiecient and slow. They really didn’t have a public forum to distribute their products. There was a feeble attempt with weather radio but we all know how limited that was (still is). And by the way…why didn’t AccuWeather complain then when the NWS started NWR? That provided a specailized service (toning warnings) that reached only certain clients (people who owned NWR). Then along came the public internet…that wonderful levelling field. With the growth of technology and influx of talented IT people to help meteorologists make it work the NWS has become efficient and fast in serving it’s clients (the public). The NWS finally has a face and people are waking up and re-discovering what the NWS and e-government really can do with their money. And this makes AccuWeather scared. No longer do they hold all the power. In a way their reaction to this dwindling gap is a good measure that the NWS is right on track and serving the public taxpayers well. I am glad this is all coming out now. It will help to place more focus on the NWS and solidify their presence on the web when other rational thinking senators see the good work the NWS does. To AccuWeather: you reap what you sow. When you bite the hand that feeds you, you get bitten back. To NWS: continue to take the high road and provide me the good service I am paying for. To elected officials: Big Brother is watching you.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...