La Liga’s official app has drawn condemnation from privacy groups for eavesdropping on users, turning them into unwitting spies.
While using the app, “the microphone will capture fragments of audio with the sole object of wanting to know if you are watching football games,” admitted La Liga.
The app also records your GPS location. The purpose is to stop “fraud,” the league said.
Bars in Spain pay a premium to broadcast La Liga games on TVs. The league says the app checks the GPS of the user. If it finds you are at a bar in Spain, it records using the microphone. It then checks to see if the audio matches audio from the game. If there is audio from the game at the bar, and the bar has not paid the premium, the league can guess that the bar is showing games without permission.
La Liga says this form of piracy costs them 150 million euros per year.
The league maintains that no one has access to these recordings, which are checked automatically by a computer to see if they match. They have not revealed for how long they have been recording users.
Privacy groups advise removing microphone and GPS permissions from the app, or deleting it altogether.