Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by janrinok on Tuesday June 12, @06:12PM   Printer-friendly
from the apps-have-ears dept.

The Spanish soccer league's smartphone app, which has been installed by millions of users, uses the microphone and GPS readings of the devices its installed on to report possible instances of streaming piracy by listening. The smartphone app listens to and analyzes the audio in its surroundings to check if one of La Liga’s matches is being played and then pairs that with GPS data to see if that location is an authorized broadcaster and file reports.

Spanish soccer league "La Liga" is using its official Android app to create an army of millions of piracy spies. The app can access microphone and location data to scan for restaurants, bars, and other establishments that broadcast their matches without a license. "Protect your team," La Liga notes, while encouraging users to enable the functionality.


Original Submission

Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Reply to Article Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
(1)
  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @07:06PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @07:06PM (#692057)

    The Faraday Cage.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by frojack on Tuesday June 12, @07:07PM (18 children)

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 12, @07:07PM (#692058) Journal

    More common than you think.

    I had some app that was accessing my mic much of the time, It caused excessive power usage, but the useage was attributed to google components because it was using google services app to listen and perhaps upload.

    With Android you can review each app, or each permission, to see who is using what. So it is easy to deny microphone permission to apps that have no business listening.

    The tricky bit is figuring out what was using all the power. Look under battery usage, History, and if your "awake" usage bar is on solid, something is keeping the phone awake (using processor, hardware features, radios). Then in settings / apps / configure apps / permissions you can see a list of apps using the microphone, and individually deny any of them.

    There are a lot of apps that ask for mic permissions that just don't need it and you can turn it off, or delete the app as you see fit.
    Worth your time to check:

    https://www.howtogeek.com/230683/how-to-manage-app-permissions-on-android-6.0/ [howtogeek.com]

    --
    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @07:10PM (16 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @07:10PM (#692059)

      Or, you know, you could just stop pirating Spanish soccer matches.

      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Tuesday June 12, @07:14PM (6 children)

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 12, @07:14PM (#692060) Journal

        What part of "Spanish soccer league's smartphone app" sounds like pirating to you?

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @07:26PM (5 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @07:26PM (#692071)

          TFA is about the app catching people pirating Spanish soccer matches. Thus, you turning off the microphone can only be to protect yourself from being discovered.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @07:38PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @07:38PM (#692076)

            TFA is about soccer. Thus, you commenting on it can only mean you're a soccer fan.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @09:26PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @09:26PM (#692108)

              How did you know I was a soccer fan? Also, I'm a fan of sarcasm.

          • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Osamabobama on Tuesday June 12, @09:48PM

            by Osamabobama (5842) on Tuesday June 12, @09:48PM (#692115)

            You could also turn off your microphone to protect the sports bar where you are viewing the pirated match. Or to save your battery. Or because you don't trust the app developers to listen in on your daily activities.

            But, really, you don't even need a reason.

            --
            Appended to the end of comments you post. Max: 120 chars.
          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by sjames on Wednesday June 13, @12:13AM

            by sjames (2882) on Wednesday June 13, @12:13AM (#692160) Journal

            NO.

            They pilfer your mic and location data trying to catch others who are pilfering the games. For example, if you go to a sports bar.

            One set of rules for me, another for thee.

          • (Score: 2, Insightful) by r_a_trip on Wednesday June 13, @02:12PM

            by r_a_trip (5276) on Wednesday June 13, @02:12PM (#692333)

            *** Thus, you turning off the microphone can only be to protect yourself from being discovered. ***

            What a meek sheeple position. How about the owner paid for the hardware and the electricity and the data plan and it is not for a two bit soccer organisation to appropriate for their own dubious uses.

            If you don't agree, I'll fit you with a non-removable, implanted IP-camera to make sure you do not have sex with persons under the age of consent.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @07:17PM (8 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @07:17PM (#692062)

        wooosh?

        This is about rent collecting, some bars/pubs pirate Spanish soccer matches and show them to patrons.

        • (Score: 4, Informative) by urza9814 on Tuesday June 12, @07:20PM (5 children)

          by urza9814 (3954) on Tuesday June 12, @07:20PM (#692066) Journal

          ...and about effectively turning random customers into unwitting and unpaid enforcement agents potentially against their will. If that job is so important to them, they can hire their own damn employees to do it.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @07:25PM (4 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @07:25PM (#692070)

            With consent from the user, the app will analyze the audio in its surroundings to check if one of La Liga’s matches is being played. It then pairs that with GPS data to see if that location is an authorized broadcaster.

            No, the customers are willing participants in this - at least for now.

            • (Score: 4, Insightful) by urza9814 on Tuesday June 12, @07:36PM (2 children)

              by urza9814 (3954) on Tuesday June 12, @07:36PM (#692074) Journal

              "Consent" here seems to mean "they accepted the privacy policy." How many users do you really think read every single clause in the privacy policy before installing an app? Accepting such a policy is not the same as agreeing to work for someone.

              • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @07:46PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @07:46PM (#692080)

                Not to mention how is the function described? Does it say "we'll listen in with your phone's microphone to record all background audio in order to find people pirating our soccer matches"? Or does it say something like "anonymized usage data may be gathered during specific events" which is so nebulous a description as to be useless? Even if someone went through the privacy policy they might still have no real clue how their phone was going to be abused via the app.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @10:09PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @10:09PM (#692118)

                It definitely wasn't clear from the original article. I was feeling optimistic, so I read it as explicit consent to this feature and not something stashed away in some legal text (why else would they "encourage people to enable" it if it was already allowed?). Assuming the other way is probably more realistic.

                The Ars [arstechnica.com] article is a bit more clear about how they consent - apparently, it comes up and asks you after this update if it can use the mic/geolocation data. Accepting that is dumb but it doesn't seem terribly misleading, and it does seem opt-in.

            • (Score: 4, Interesting) by sjames on Wednesday June 13, @02:24AM

              by sjames (2882) on Wednesday June 13, @02:24AM (#692194) Journal

              Possibly with consent. You're sitting at home, and there's a knock at the door. The weather is cold and nasty, and the guy at the door says his car broke down and his cell is dead, can he use your phone? You agree and invite him in. He asks if he can use your bathroom and you agree again. Soon after, a tow truck arrives and off he goes.

              A few days later, at 3:00 A.M. you awake thinking you heard a splashing sound. To your surprise you find the stranded motorist taking a bubble bath in YOUR bathtub. He says "I found an open window". Understandably, you demand that he get the hell out before you call the cops.

              With a hurt look, he says "but you invited me in and said I could use your bathroom!"

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @07:24PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @07:24PM (#692069)

          Actually, I was just yanking frojack's chain. He's usually trolling, but when he isn't it's just because he needs to prime his pump.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @11:40PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @11:40PM (#692152)

          Pirate? They're probably showing a visual representation of signals that get sent to every Spaniard, and that every Spaniard, provided he paid the TV tax, could watch for himself.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @07:23PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @07:23PM (#692068)

      Alternatively, just grab all your software off F-Droid and have every single anti-feature clearly listed and highlighted right on the download page.

  • (Score: 2) by inertnet on Tuesday June 12, @09:38PM

    by inertnet (4071) on Tuesday June 12, @09:38PM (#692112)

    How does this app adhere to the new European privacy laws?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @10:45PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @10:45PM (#692124)

    How automated is the reporting process? Do they follow up with their own agents to verify in person or do they just use the recordings as proof? They've created a great way for a group of friends to get a bunch of random businesses sued, perhaps even get the league to sue itself. The USA media industry has happily automated itself into a lawsuit against itself a few times. No reason other media companies can't join the fun. I'm sure their lawyers would be happy.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Phoenix666 on Tuesday June 12, @11:02PM (4 children)

    by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 12, @11:02PM (#692131) Journal

    It used to be that people said "information is power," but now that information is so ubiquitous it seems like the aphorism could be updated to "integrity is power."

    This move by the soccer league and many other corporations seem to be destroying all trust in them and the system they have created. Think about all the hacks of corporate systems that are created by companies that ought to be able to afford to secure them. Think about all the revelations of spying at all levels and at every opportunity. Think of all the #metoo stuff that has revealed so much darkness about people and companies that once enjoyed the highest esteem.

    That catastrophic implosion of trust in institutions and authorities has to have real consequences, or is it just me that thinks that?

    I am by nature a critical thinker and that has been reinforced by the educational and professional path I have walked, but it's getting so ridiculous out there that I feel like I have to move absolutely every quadrant of my life to a DIY, trust-no-one basis. At the same time, it seems like the surest path to social capital for an individual in this age is to strive to exemplify trustworthiness and integrity.

    --
    Washington DC delenda est.
    • (Score: 2) by Lester on Wednesday June 13, @07:49AM (2 children)

      by Lester (6231) on Wednesday June 13, @07:49AM (#692260) Journal

      It used to be that people said "information is power," but now that information is so ubiquitous it seems like the aphorism could be updated to "integrity is power."

      The information is not ubiquitous, the sources of data are ubiquitous, but information is in a few hands.

      Before internet age, elites had 100 of information and we, regular citizens, had just 1. In the beginning of Internet suddenly citizens had 50 of information, gap of information power had reduced. What we didn't anticipate in that golden information age is that after a few years we would have 90 (waw!!) but elites would have trillions of information. The gap has become an abyss. They don't have a lot of power, now they are almost gods and nobody can stop them.

      • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Wednesday June 13, @12:31PM (1 child)

        by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 13, @12:31PM (#692311) Journal

        They are not gods at all. They're not acmes of intelligence or vision. They buy the skills they need by surrounding themselves with people like us, because it's too much work for them to learn the skills themselves.

        So, if people like us stopped imagining them to be gods, and decided to do something about it, there's very little the power-elite could do.

        --
        Washington DC delenda est.
        • (Score: 2) by Lester on Wednesday June 13, @05:49PM

          by Lester (6231) on Wednesday June 13, @05:49PM (#692428) Journal

          They have some skills. One of them is choosing a goal and a lot of commitment, they overcome any difficulty, they remove any obstacle, including moral or legal obstacles. Another skill is hiring the right people for the right work.

          And people won't decide do something about it, not in a statistically significant number. They know it, they rely on it. That's not going to happen. After 2000 years, we, people, haven't managed to get honest politicians that defend people's real interests, so, good luck with a complex matter like information control.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, @03:35PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, @03:35PM (#692363)

      It used to be that people said "information is power,"

      No. The saying always was: Knowledge is power.

(1)