LaLiga has been fined 250,000 euros by Spain’s national data protection agency after it was revealed it had been using app users' microphones to "spy” on bars.
LaLiga has been using the microphones of users of its app and geo-location technology to “spy” on bars showing Spanish domestic football games.
Spanish daily El Diario reports that LaLiga has been using the app, which has been downloaded 10 million times, to identify bars that are showing matches illegally in a bid to clamp down on piracy.
According to the El Diario report, after users give their consent for the app to use their device’s microphone, LaLiga can remotely activate the mic to try to determine if the user is in a bar or public establishment that is showing football.
Then, by using geo-location technology activated on the app user's device, LaLiga can determine the exact location of the establishment to find out if it is broadcasting the matches illegally.
In Spain, bars and other public establishments must pay around 300 euros per month for a LaLiga subscription, while regular households make monthly payments of between 10 and 30 euros.
LaLiga has previously stated that, overall, illegal piracy costs the organisation an estimated 400 million euros per year.
LaLiga handed 250,000-euro fine by data protection agency
As a result of the revelations, Spain’s national data protection agency (AEPD) has fined LaLiga 250,000 euros for not adequately informing users that the app can activate their microphones and monitor their location.
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] considers that the AEPD has not made the necessary efforts to understand how the technology works," read the statement (via Reuters).
"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."
LaLiga has stressed that that the detection technology is not used outside of Spain, does not listen to user’s conversations or voices, and is only adopted in the fight against “piracy in public establishments”, which, it says, results in more than 150 million euros in lost revenues each year.