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Lawsuit Alleges the Warriors App Listens to You Talk, Even When It's Off

A lawsuit claims that the app uses "beacon" technology to record private conversations using smartphone microphones even when the app is not in use, all without an opt-out possibility.

by Liam Daniel Pierce
Sep 2 2016, 2:56pm

Back when Curry's cellphone used to hear happy talk. Photo by Cary Edmonson—USA Today Sports

The Golden State Warriors have totally fused Silicon Valley with basketball, man—self-actualization, ideation, disruption, singularity, all kinds of sweaty equity. It's like Burning Man with a hoop. And that's all fine and dandy, until the Warriors start trying to sell you shit by eavesdropping on your private conversations.

A class-action lawsuit, filed Monday, is claiming that the Oakland-based basketball team is "surreptitiously intercepting consumers' oral communications without their consent" in their official app. The lawsuit—filed by Latisha Satchell on behalf of Warriors app users against the Warriors, Signal360, and Yinzcam—seeks out $10,000 per person in the class, and alleges that the app uses "beacon" technology to record private conversations using smartphone microphones even when the app is not in use, all without an opt-out possibility.

Upon its launch, the app promised to use beacon technology to enable location-based features, such as a welcome message when you enter Oracle Arena, to "enhance" the user experience.

"For us it's, 'why not enhance their experience to give them special offers or exclusive content informative alerts and more,'" Kevin Cote, senior director of digital for the Golden State Warriors, told Mobile Commerce Daily. "Why not integrate it into our mobile app so that the app itself becomes a companion to fans' game day experience. We were all in with beacon technology. We think it's something that's going to continue to grow, and we're excited to be one of the first sports venues to have full-scale implementation."

(Blah, blah, blah, we might record your conversations.)

There are all kind of rights you sign away when you download an app and enable different functions, but the lawsuit alleges that the Warriors app doesn't specify the context for using the microphone, nor does it mention beacon technology, and that it doesn't allow users to opt out of location tracking.

The suit bases a majority of their evidence on a "forensic accounting" of the app, which rings a little vague. But if the allegations are true, this is not a great look for the tech bros who cobbled this one together. Ideate your way out of this one.

[h/t Deadspin]