EU Data Authorities Warn Fans Not to Download Qatar World Cup App

FIFA World Cup in Qatar

EU Data Authorities Warn Fans Not to Download Qatar World Cup App

The European Data Protection Authorities (EDAs) have warned fans ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar not to download the official Qatari World Cup apps.

Experts have labeled the Hayya and Ehteraz apps, which foreign visitors to Qatar are asked to use, as “spyware” due to the wide access they provide to people’s data and the potential for the authorities to read, delete, or alter content, as well as make direct calls. Professionals are advised to be aware of the data collected by these apps when travelling to Qatar.

European data protection regulators are warning of potential risks posed by Qatar’s World Cup apps for visitors, with Germany’s data protection commissioner recently issuing a statement expressing concern. According to the statement, the data collected by the two apps goes beyond what is specified in the privacy notices.

The German authority noted that one app collects information on the telephone calls made, while the other prevents the device from going into sleep mode and transmits data to a central server. Professionals are urged to be aware of the potential risks in downloading these apps.

The Norwegian and French data protection entities have voiced urgent cautionary advice in regards to the access of the World Cup’s mobile applications for visitors to Qatar. The Norwegian agency expressed alarm about the scope of access, and added that “there is a genuine risk that guests to Qatar, specifically vulnerable groups, will be tracked by the Qatari authorities”.

The French entity has asked travelers to “exercise special caution” with photos or videos and suggests that travelers install the apps shortly prior to departure, and delete them upon returning to France. Professional travelers to Qatar should be aware of the risks associated with downloading and utilizing the mobile applications.