Earlier this week, a putative class action was brought against the NBA’s Golden State Warriors concerning the team’s mobile application. According to the complaint, the free app provides an interactive experience for fans by delivering scores, news and other information relevant to the Golden State Warriors. The plaintiffs allege that the app contains certain Bluetooth beacon software that allows the Warriors to target specific consumers and send them tailored content, promotions or advertisements based on their location.
The app allegedly listens for audio beacons by secretly activating a consumer’s built in microphone in their mobile device (regardless of whether the consumer is using the app). The app then listens to and records all audio within range, including consumer conversations. The plaintiffs contend that they were not informed, nor did they consent to this technology. Accordingly, the plaintiffs are asserting a violation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and seeking statutory damages and injunctive relief.
TAKEAWAY: Companies developing apps should understand the tracking technology used for geo-targeting or other behavioral advertising so as to ensure that they clearly communicate such technology to consumers, and, if applicable, offer opt-in/opt-out options.