La Liga fined over app’s access to smartphone microphones

Spanish professional football division says technology helps in fight against piracy

A street market in Madrid sells tshirts and scarfs from La Liga football teams. Photograph: Getty Images

A street market in Madrid sells tshirts and scarfs from La Liga football teams. Photograph: Getty Images

 

La Liga has been fined €250,000 by Spain’s national data protection agency (AEPD) for not adequately informing users of its official app that the programme can activate smartphone microphones and monitor user location, it said on Tuesday.

La Liga was reportedly using the information to find bars that were illegally screening league matches.

Spain’s top professional football division said in a statement that it has always complied with data protection regulations and denied breaking the law.

“La Liga disagrees profoundly with this decision, rejects the penalty imposed as unjust, unfounded and disproportionate and considers that the AEPD has not made the necessary efforts to understand how the technology works,” it said in a statement.

Challenge

“As a result, it will challenge the ruling in court to demonstrate that its actions have always been responsible and in accordance with the law.”

The app has been downloaded over 10 million times.

La Liga says the technology helps its long-running battle against illegal piracy, which costs it an estimated €400 million a year in lost commercial and audiovisual rights.

However, it stressed that the technology does not enable it to listen to users voices and conversations.

La Liga also contested the AEPD’s ruling that it violates transparency, stressing that users must consent twice to activating the microphone function on the app.

– Reuters