Saturday, 15 June, 2019

La Liga fined by Spain's data protection agency

Sevilla's forward Jose Antonio Reyes celerates after scoring during the Spanish league football match Malaga CF vs Sevilla FC LaLiga fined after found using app users' microphones to "spy" on bars
Sandy Mccarthy | 14 June, 2019, 20:33

As they submitted their written plea, La Liga said the technology used is created to exclusively generate an acoustic fingerprint.

La Liga was fined $280,000 by the Spanish data protection agency for using their phone app to catch illegal streams of their games.

LaLiga - Spain's top football league - has been slapped with a €250,000 (just over RM1.1 million) fine for allegedly violating European Union data privacy and transparency laws.

According to El País (via Reuters), the issue surrounds the official smartphone app distributed by the league to keep fans informed of the latest scores and news.

The app would ask for permission to access the microphone and Global Positioning System data, but the AEPD says this was done in an "opaque" manner.

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The fine was levied because, when active, the app accesses the microphone and the geolocation of its users with the aim of detecting TV signals in bars and venues which are illegally showing La Liga games. But the watchdog said the soccer league should alert users every time the microphone is remotely activated, including adding an icon to the screen when the phone is recording. At the time, El Pais reported that the discovery became a trending topic on social media and it sent Android reviews of the app plummeting.

"These fraudulent activities represent an estimated loss of €150 million annually for Spanish football, which translates into direct damage for clubs, operators and fans, among others", La Liga said.

In a statement in response to the fine, LaLiga said "it profoundly disagrees" with the AEPD's decision and rejected the "unjust, unfounded and disproportionate" penalty.

La Liga plans to challenge the decision, insisting it has followed all existing regulations. The AEPD has requested that LaLiga make it clear to the user when this process is taking place; however, the functionality was already due to be retired on 30 June this year and will be removed.

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