La Liga, an app for Spanish soccer fans, was spying on fans using otherwise unnecessary GPS and microphone permissions to identify bars showing the game without a license.
Here’s Natasha Lomas, writing for Tech Crunch:
In a statement on its website responding to the snitch scandal, the league defends its actions writing that it has “a responsibility to protect the clubs and their fans” from unlicensed broadcasts being made in public places, claiming that such activity results in the loss of an estimated €150M annually from the league.
It also specifies that the feature is only deployed in its Android app—and claims it has apparently only been active since June 8. It also says it’s only used within Spain.
Caveats aside, that’s still creepy. And a good reminder of why you need to manage your permissions on Android or on your iPhone or iPad. If an application asks for microphone permission, but doesn’t use your microphone, there’s a good chance something weird like this is up. Same goes for GPS, contacts, or any other feature of your phone.
Stay vigilant and don’t give apps permission to features they don’t need, or you just might end up costing your favorite bar a bunch of money.