HOLA MI AMIGOS, if you love footie, Spain and flagrant abuses of privacy, this is the story for you.
Spain's football (that soccer to our American readers) league LaLiga is facing a fine of €250,000 (some £222,000) from the country's data protection agency for violating transparency and privacy laws.
The fine being kicked LaLiga's way is down to the league's mobile app, used by Spanish footy fans to track the stats and performance of their beloved Artilleros and other teams.
The app itself is mundane enough on the surface, kind of like football in general. But it turns out it was accessing the microphone of phones it was installed on - some 10 million, along with the handset's geolocation to record audio at bars, according to Spanish news outlet El Pais.
Then using tech that's in the same ballpark as the Shazam music recognition app, the app's recordings and location data could work out if a match was being streamed at a bar without a license to do so.
In essence, the LaLiga app was turning Spanish kicky-bally fans into illegal streaming grasses.
Apparently, the app's terms and services do explain to users that by accepting the T&Cs their phone will be used to detect fraudulent activities.
But the Spanish Agency for Data Protection (AEPD) reckons this soccer snooping is foul play, as LaLiga has failed to be properly transparent with the budget Bond-like tactics its app applies. As well as fining the league, the AEPD also ordered LaLiga to take down the app by 30 June.
LaLiga was naturally not impressed and has said it will appeal the decision as it reckons AEPD doesn't fully grasp the tech the app uses; this reeks of some beer-bellied blading bloke trying to explain the off-side rule to a lady because he thinks "girls don't get footy".
The ball-to-foot league also argues that it only receives code from the app that flags illegal streams, rather than audio recording, which would be a more brutal tackle of privacy.
We'll have to wait and Mira for what's next. But the whole thing does highlight that by bouncing past T&Cs and simply clicking 'accept' on all the permissions they ask for can suddenly have you acting as an undercover agent for some of the dullest narcs around.
Also, when it comes to a game of overpaid-preening-blokes-kicking-round-things, you don't need an app to tell you that Arsenal always tries to walk it in. µ
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