The Golden State Warriors are the team of the megalomaniacs and bloodsuckers of Silicon Valley, and they are run by a trophy-fucker who thinks he invented smallball. From their continued obfuscation of their own ridiculous luck with a teleological argument about how their success was predetermined by their organizational character to their second-best player humping the “Actually, Failure Is Good” line, they embody the worst tendencies of their region. I would have thought that secret data mining was beyond the capabilities of a basketball team, but according to a class-action lawsuit, the Warriors official team app may have violated users’ privacy. The lawsuit alleges that the team’s official smartphone app has recorded private conversations and other audio from users’ phones without their knowledge or permission, and without giving them the ability to opt out.
The suit was filed in U.S. District Court on Monday by Latisha Satchell on behalf of the aggrieved class of Warriors app users against the Warriors, Signal360, and Yinzcam. In 2014, the Warriors and Signal360 partnered on integrating Signal360's signature “beacon” technology into their app. Beacon helps track the location of app users and helps serve up location-based ads. The Warriors did so in an effort to become the most technologically aggressive NBA team; as Warriors digital employee Kevin Cote said at the time, “It’s really about using technology to enhance the fan experience.” The suit alleges that beacon “enhanced” the fan experience by recording audio from their phones at all times, even when the app was not being used.
According to evidence provided in the suit, Warriors app users have the option to opt in or out of several services, but have no choice to stop the app from tracking their location. (They are not provided any information about why the app needs the microphone.) Furthermore, usage of beacon technology is never mentioned.
Unlike other tracking technology, beacon uses audio cues to figure out where exactly a user is (this theoretically allows them to target customers not only to businesses, but to specific areas within them). The app requires constant input, and so it allegedly runs in the background, even while the app is not in use. The plaintiffs are suing the Warriors and the other two defendants for violating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. They are seeking damages of $10,000 per person in the class.
You can check out the full complaint below.