Spain’s data protection agency has fined La Liga, the nation’s top professional soccer league, 250,000 euros ($283,000 USD) for using the league’s phone app to spy on its fans. With millions of downloads, the app was reportedly being used to surveil bars in an effort to catch establishments playing matches on television without a license.
The La Liga app provides users with schedules, player rankings, statistics, and league news. It also knows when they’re watching games and where.
According to Spanish newspaper El País, the league told authorities that when its apps detected users were in bars the apps would record audio through phone microphones. The apps would then use the recording to determine if the user was watching a soccer game, using technology that’s similar to the Shazam app. If a game was playing in the vicinity, officials would then be able to determine if that bar location had a license to play the game.
So not only was the app spying on fans, but it was also turning those fans into unwitting narcs. El Diario reports that the app has been downloaded 10 million times.
The fine is insanely low, especially considering it’s the Spanish billionaires club that has to pay it.