Spain’s top professional soccer league, “La Liga” has been fined €250,000 ($280,000) for using its mobile app to determine whether users were watching pirated games.
The country’s data protection agency said the free Android app, which reportedly has been downloaded nearly 10 million times, enabled fans to keep track of games, scores, player stats and schedules, among other data.
The technology could also track a user’s surroundings – such as a restaurant or sports bar – and determine whether matches were being shown illegally – information, the agency said, La Liga did not disclose to users.
La Liga, along with English Premier League, Germany’s Bundesliga, Italy’s Serie A and France’s Ligue 1, ranks among the most lucrative in the world. Yet, it contends annual revenue loses upwards of €150 million from pirated games.
“This translates into direct damage for clubs, operators and fans, among others,” La Liga said in a statement denying the allegations. The league claims the regulatory agency is unfamiliar with the app’s technology.
“All this technology was implemented to achieve a legitimate goal: fight against piracy,” the league said.
La Liga, which said the app followed existing regulations, added it would shutter the alleged spying functions at the season’s end on June 30.