Spanish newspapers report that La Liga — the football league in which Real Madrid and FC Barcelona play — has been fined 250,000 euros by the Spanish data-protection agency for improperly notifying users that it was using their microphones and location data to listen in and find Bars that were pirating streams of soccer games.
The La Liga mobile app — designed to offer results online and provide information on first- and second-division teams — incorporates other features, such as using the microphone to capture the sound of broadcasts and, via algorithms similar to those Shazam employs to detect a song, deduce whether the customer is watching a soccer game. Since the app also uses the geolocation of the user, it can check whether the place where the game is being watched is playing an illegal stream.
La Liga — which sued 600 bars in March for pirating soccer games — admitted last year that its app does this but has said it will contest the fine. The app, La Liga claims, asks for users’ consent to access their microphones. (How exonerating you find this likely depends on how easily you accidentally press “Okay” buttons in phone pop-ups without reading the dialogue.) Maybe more to the point, La Liga insists that it listens only for a specific “sonic fingerprint” (i.e., the game broadcast) and ignores sensitive information like conversations.