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La Liga Phone App Spied On Fans To Catch Bars Showing Unlicensed Games : NPR

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La Liga, Spain’s premier soccer league, was fined 250,000 euros on Tuesday for failing to adequately notify Android app users it was recording what was going on near the phone. The app was developed to combat piracy, according to the league.

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La Liga, Spain’s premier soccer league, was fined 250,000 euros on Tuesday for failing to adequately notify Android app users it was recording what was going on near the phone. The app was developed to combat piracy, according to the league.

SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Spain’s premier soccer league, La Liga, was hit with a 250,000 euro fine — about $280,000 — on Tuesday for using its mobile phone app to spy on millions fans as part of a ploy to catch venues showing unlicensed broadcasts of professional matches.

The country’s data protection agency said the league’s app, which was marketed as a tool to track game scores, schedules, player rankings and other news, was also systematically accessing the phone’s microphone and geolocation data to listen in on people’s surroundings during matches. When it detected users were in bars the app would record audio — much like Shazam — to determine if a game was being illegally shown at the venue.

The league only used the technology on Android phones. According to El Diario the app has been downloaded more than 10 million times.

The Spanish newspaper reported, the agency found La Liga did not adequately notify users about the surveillance components of the app and therefore violated the basic principle of transparency under Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation.

La Liga countered by saying it did offer two opportunities at the time of installation to block the spy-like functions. But the watchdog said the soccer league should alert users every time the microphone is remotely activated, including adding an icon to the screen when the phone is recording.

Some other apps try to use the same features to gather information, if they’re not blocked by users.

The surreptitious functionality was met with outrage from fans when it was first discovered a couple of weeks after the EU’s data protection regulations went into effect a year ago. The rules require app makers to expressly convey to users what they are doing with the data they’re gathering. At the time, El Pais reported it became a trending topic on social media and it sent Android reviews of the app plummeting.

The soccer league responded by telling fans the snooping elements of the app were designed to combat piracy. “These fraudulent activities represent an estimated loss of 150 million euros annually for Spanish football, which translates into direct damage for clubs, operators and fans, among others,” La Liga said.

In a statement on Wednesday, La Liga said it “disagrees deeply” with the data protection agency’s decision and accused it of not making “the necessary effort to understand how the technology works.”

La Liga plans to challenge the resolution, insisting it has followed all existing regulations. League officials sought to clarify that the software protects individual users’ rights because it doesn’t record, store or listen to conversations.

“All this technology was implemented to achieve a legitimate goal,” La Liga said, adding that it has a responsibility to use all technological advances at its disposal to “fight against piracy.”

La Liga also said it will not be applying the data protection agency’s recommendations. It called the app “experimental,” because the league was already planning to turn off those functions at the end of the season, which falls on June 30.

Dani Matias contributed to this story.

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Police And Demonstrators Clash, Ending Stretch Of Calm : NPR

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Police and pro-democracy demonstrators clashed during a protest in Hong Kong on Saturday. The protests in Hong Kong started in June over an unpopular bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China.

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Police and pro-democracy demonstrators clashed during a protest in Hong Kong on Saturday. The protests in Hong Kong started in June over an unpopular bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China.

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After a stretch of relative peace in Hong Kong, a standoff between protesters and riot police became violent again on Saturday.

Police fired tear gas after pro-democracy demonstrators blocked roads with barricades made of bamboo sticks and hurled bricks, in the district of Kwun Tong.

In a statement, police said protesters paralyzed traffic and affected emergency services in the area near a police station.

Protesters tore down and dismantled “smart lamp posts” out of a fear that they contain high-tech cameras and facial recognition software used for surveillance by authorities in China.

Some used an electric saw, attempting to slice through the bottom of the lamppost, while others tied a rope around it to successfully bring it crashing to the ground, the Associated Press reported.

The government in Hong Kong insists that the lampposts only collect data on weather, air quality and traffic, according to the AP.

There are plans to install about 400 of these smart lampposts over a three-year period, according to a government report.

Demonstrators try to pull down a smart lamppost during the protest in Hong Kong on Saturday that turned violent. The smart lampposts are raising fears of stepped-up surveillance from authorities.

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Demonstrators try to pull down a smart lamppost during the protest in Hong Kong on Saturday that turned violent. The smart lampposts are raising fears of stepped-up surveillance from authorities.

Kin Cheung/AP

The latest skirmish marked the 12th straight weekend of demonstrations in Hong Kong and ended nearly two weeks of relative calm, according to the AP.

Just a day before, thousands of Hong Kongers held hands and formed human chains, in a peaceful bid to gain support from the international community, NPR’s Anthony Kuhn reported.

On Saturday, Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam expressed a desire to open a dialogue on Facebook.

“I don’t expect that dialogue will be able to easily untangle this knot, stop the demonstrations or provide a solution to the problem,” Lam wrote. “But continuing to fight is not a way out.”

“After more than two months, everyone is tired. Can we sit down and talk about it?” she wrote.

Just a few hours later, protests in Kwun Tong turned violent, according to the New York Times.

The protests in Hong Kong originally began in June over a bill that would have allowed some extraditions of Hong Kong residents to mainland China. The bill sparked a backlash among those who saw it as a violation of the “one country, two systems” agreement that was formed in 1997 when Hong Kong was returned to China from the British.

The bill has since been shelved but it’s not formally dead. Hong Kong’s government indefinitely suspended the legislation in June but hasn’t withdrawn it entirely from the legislative process.

The demands from the movement have since expanded and now include calls to investigate excessive police violence during the demonstrations and a more transparent and open government.

Also on Saturday, Simon Cheng, a worker from the British Consulate in Hong Kong, was released after being detained in mainland China.

Cheng disappeared on a business trip in mainland China two weeks ago amid the rising tensions between Beijing and London.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Cheng’s detention had anything to do with Britain’s support of the pro-democracy protests, NPR’s Scott Neuman reported.

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EPL live scores and result

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You can find our lives cores at the bottom of this preview.

Early Premier League leaders Liverpool and
Arsenal face-off at Anfield on Saturday where one of the only two remaining 100
percent records in the Premier League will go.

 The
European champions will hope to continue a fine recent record against the north
Londoners.

Jurgen Klopp has never lost in seven
previous Premier League meetings against Arsenal and his side have beaten the
Gunners 4-0 and 5-1 at home in the past two seasons.

However, Unai Emery’s outfit are hoping a
busy summer in the transfer window, while Liverpool did not strengthen, will
have significantly narrowed the 27-point gap between the sides last season.

Emery could hand a first start to £72
million ($87 million) club record signing Nicolas Pepe, while on-loan Real
Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos earned rave reviews by creating both goals on
his full debut against Burnley last weekend.

This can 
be seen as an early opportunity for veteran centre-back David Luiz to
make his mark by halting the free-scoring trio of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino
and Mohamed Salah, who combined for all five Liverpool goals when the sides
last met.

The Gunners 
have some outstanding finishers of their own. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang,
who shared the Premier League Golden Boot with Mane and Salah last season, has
scored his side’s winner in the first two games of the campaign

English Premier League live scores on 23-25 August

Get the latest English Premier League scores below. Get fixtures and results from all the weekend’s English Premier League matches here.

Scores will be live at kick off.

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WRAP: Absa Premiership | Sport24

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Cape Town – A comprehensive wrap of all the kick-off times, results and match reports for the weekend’s Absa Premiership matches:

SATURDAY, AUGUST 24

Golden Arrows 2-1 Chippa United

Black Leopards 1-1 Highlands Park

Kaizer Chiefs v SuperSport United – 18:00

SUNDAY, AUGUST 25

Stellenbosch FC v Maritzburg United – 15:00

Baroka FC v Bloemfontein Celtic – 15:00



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