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LaLiga fined for tracking fans to bars televising games without a license

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.

The application did not actually record audio, but instead would listen for LaLiga games being played in the background. The technology it used is similar to Shazam but for soccer games. If the algorithms identified a broadcast, location data would be sent back to LaLiga to determine if the location had a license to televise the match.

Even though the app asks users for permission to use the microphone and GPS, it was not transparent in how these components were being used. Only by digging into the terms of service is it revealed that users were consenting to allow LaLiga to use their phones as a spying device to detect pirated football 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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