LaLiga’s app listened in on followers to catch bars illegally streaming soccer

Spain’s data protection agency has fined the country’s soccer league, LaLiga, €250,000 (about $280,000) for allegedly violating EU data privacy and transparency laws. The app, which is used for keeping track of games and stats, was using the phone’s microphone and GPS to track bars illegally streaming soccer games, Spanish newspaper El País reported.

Using a Shazam-like technology, the app would record audio to identify soccer games, and use the geolocation of the phone to locate which bars were streaming without licenses. El Diario reports that fans have downloaded that app more than 10 million times, essentially turning them into undercover narcs. The league claims that the app asks for permission to access the phone’s microphone and location, and that the data — which is received as a code, not audio — is only used to detect LaLiga streams. The app does explain in the terms of service that by giving the app permission, users are consenting to LaLiga using their phones to detect fraudulent behavior, like pirated soccer games.

However, the Spanish data protection agency claims that the app didn’t make this clear, and has ordered LaLiga to take down the app by June 30th. The league plans to appeal the sanction, claiming that the agency doesn’t fully understand the app’s technology.

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