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The official app of the World Cup in Qatar is spying on its users

Official applications of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar pose serious risks to the privacy and security of their users, Politico reports.

Foreigners visiting the country have been asked by authorities to download the official World Cup app – Hayya. Tourists visiting healthcare facilities are asked to download the infection tracking app – Ehteraz.

Cybersecurity experts call the apps “spyware”and regulatory authorities in the EU agree with their conclusions.

Germany’s data protection commissioner has revealed that the authorities in Qatar are encouraging the download of these two apps, which are effectively spying on their users.

One of the apps collects phone call data of its users“, the German authority said.

The other app actively prevents the device it’s installed on from going to sleep. It is also obvious that the data used by the applications is send to a central server“.

Apps can not only monitor everything that happens on the phone. They can to read all three messagesto change information and even to make calls. The latter can be hidden, and the user will not know what happened to his device.

German regulators say if it’s “absolutely necessary” to download the apps, then do so on another, empty phone.

There is a real possibility that visitors to Qatar, especially vulnerable groups of people, will be monitored by the authorities“, Norway’s cyber security authority said in a statement.

France said fans should pay “special attention” to their photos and videos. Paris recommends that travelers install the apps just before departure and to delete them as soon as they return in France.

In France, thanks to the General Data Protection Regulation, all applications must guarantee people’s fundamental rights and the protection of their data. In Qatar this is not the case“, digital technology minister Jean-Noel Barot wrote on Twitter, referring to the privacy regulator’s guidance.

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