November 30, 2023

The FIFA World Cup is within one week for start and as soccer fans gear up to cheer on their home countries, privacy experts are calling out the sporting event for threatening the data security of its participants.

Two apps are required to attend the world cup: Ehteraz, a COVID-19 tracking system, and Hayya, an app used to allow fans entrance to stadium grounds, schedule viewing, and free public transportation.


Several digital security agencies have alerted users to privacy concerns across both apps, first reported last month, after analyzing the apps’ access permissions. Ehteraz asks users to allow remote access to pictures and videos, make unprompted calls, and read or modify device data. Hayya permissions include full network access and unrestricted access to personal data. Both track users’ locations.

With the first round of matches commencing on Nov. 20, the competition is already mired in controversy. The Boycott Qatar movement continues to grow as global coalitions call for fans and countries alike to boycott the games, citing a wash of human rights violations.

This year’s games are making history as the first to be held in the Middle East and the first to be held during the winter, but the political, social, and technological concerns of the games may prove to be more newsworthy than any controversial plays, underdog wins, or regional successes.

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