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Sunday 23 October 2022

Qatar wants to spy on World Cup visitors

With the World cup finals in Qatar just a month away, Qatar’s government is causing concern to visitors with newly imposed demands on fans travelling to the tournament.

 The Qatari government requires all foreign visitors to download a pair of apps that provide officials with rights to access data on their phones - apps that could be considered as spyware.

Ehteraz is a Covid-19 tracking app that can manipulate content on a user’s phone. It can also override installed software and disable a phone’s lock screen.

Hayya, which tracks match info and access to the public transport system in Qatar, has permission to share information on a user’s phone.

√ėyvind Vasaasen, the head of security at Norsk Rikskringkasting AS (NRK), the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, warned against uploading the apps.

“It’s not my job to give travel advice, but personally, I would never bring my mobile phone on a visit to Qatar,” Vasaasen told the NHK website.

“When you download these two apps, you accept the terms stated in the contract, and those terms are very generous. You essentially hand over all the information in your phone. 

"You give the people who control the apps the ability to read and change things, and tweak it. They also get the opportunity to retrieve information from other apps if they have the capacity to do so, and we believe they do.”

NRK has submitted its findings about the security loopholes to FIFA but the organisers, not keen on rocking the boat, reportedly say they do not wish to comment on the matter.

Qatar has previously come under fire for human rights violations and the treatment of migrant labourers employed to build stadiums for the tournament. 

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