Warriors must go to court over eavesdropping app suit, judge rules

Amid their run for a third basketball championship in four years, the Golden State Warriors now face an off-the-court challenge in a lawsuit over allegations that the team’s Android app eavesdrops on users.

U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White in Oakland ruled on Monday that the Warriors and Signal360, a beacon technology company that partnered with the Warriors and app developer Yinzcam to create the team’s official Android app, must face claims laid out in the suit.

The suit, originally filed in September 2016 by New York state-based resident Latisha Satchell, claimed the app used the smartphone’s microphones to listen to and record conversations without the owner’s consent. The app listened to conversations at all times, recorded at times due to a software bug and sent the recorded data to the Warriors and Signal360 when a beacon in the app was detected, according to Satchell’s original complaint.

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The app was advertised for Warriors fans to receive live scores and breaking news. Signal360 was incorporated into the app to help track users’ locations and send better tailored advertisements.

In February, White sided with the Warriors and Signal360 because he believed Satchell failed to show the app recorded the conversations in detail. But a month later, Satchell amended her complaint to provide four private conversations of hers recorded without permission.

The conversations Satchell provided to the court included a bedside conversation between her and her husband; a business meeting with 50 other people; a private meeting between Satchell and a loan officer at a real estate office; and another private meeting between Satchell and a banker.

Eight months later, White recognized the amendment and found that the facts as alleged show Signal360 and the Warriors engaged in acts that may qualify as interception under the Wiretap Act. Their motions to dismiss claims against them were denied by White.

However, Yinzcam, the app developer, was granted its motion of dismissal because White saw facts alleged against it were “insufficient to state a claim for procuring an interception.”

The Warriors and Signal360 have until Dec. 8 to answer the claims and will need to show for the initial case management case on Jan. 12 to discuss how to handle the case going forward.

Signal360 did not respond to a request for comment. Warriors Vice President of Communications Raymond Ridder declined to comment.

“Per our organization policy, we do not comment on pending litigation,” said Ridder via email.

Photo: Golden State Warriors co-owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber walk after the presentation of their championship ring ceremony before their season opener against the Houston Rockets at Oracle Arena in Oakland on Oct. 17, 2017. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)


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