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Interactive Mobile Apps and Wiretap Laws

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Interactive Mobile Apps and Wiretap Laws

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Mobile apps are increasingly designed with features and functions promoting interaction with users, including voice commands. Could the design of an app to capture and transmit user communications and other information violate federal wiretap laws?

An amended class action complaint filed in federal court in California against the Golden State Warriors and the team’s app designers poses that question. In 2014, the Warriors organization apparently updated its mobile app to include beacons to track consumers and how they interact with marketing and advertising. The amended complaint further alleges that, when the app is installed on a user’s smartphone, it monitored and recorded all communications, including the users’ conversations.

The plaintiff alleges that this designed functionality of the app violates a section of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act that prohibits use of “any electronic, mechanical or other device to intercept any oral communication”. In February 2017, the court had dismissed a portion of the original complaint. Defendants are now asking the court to dismiss the amended compliant as well.

The amended complaint is available here. Contact us at Ossian Law regarding any information technology law matter.

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