Spain's La Liga hit with data protection penalty

The Spanish football league La Liga is headed by Javier Tebas

However, the Spanish data protection agency claims that the app didn't make this clear, and has ordered LaLiga to take down the app by 30 June.

Some other apps try to use the same features to gather information, if they're not blocked by users.

The app, which is used by over four million people in Spain for following league news and results, used "audio fingerprints" in order to identify and find establishments which were illegally showing matches. What users did not know was that the app was using their device's Global Positioning System to track their location and its microphone to listen in on them.

La Liga claims that the software protects individual users' rights because it doesn't record, store or listen to conversations. The league told El Diario that the app automatically turns the audio into a code that is not stored or listened to by employees.

However, the data protection agency ruled that La Liga did not properly inform users, thereby violating their privacy, according to El País.

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

The league has become notoriously aggressive against illegal streaming in recent years.

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. In 2017, La Liga launched an anti-piracy campaign, enlisting the help of Facebook, Google, and Twitter, and employing a proprietary tool to scan the internet for illegal streams.

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.

"All this technology was implemented to achieve a legitimate goal", La Liga said, adding that it has a responsibility to use all technological advances at its disposal to "fight against piracy".

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