It would be wise to get a burner phone if you were traveling to Qatar for the World Cup. Additionally, avoid taking any pictures that would violate the Gulf state’s stringent morals regulations.
Football fans are being advised on how to shield themselves from the Qatar World Cup applications’ spying by France’s powerful data protection agency, CNIL.
An official from French government told , “Ideally, go with a blank smartphone… or an old phone that has been reset.”
The representative advised taking extra precautions with any images, movies, or digital works that would put you in legal trouble under the laws of the nation you were visiting.
In order to purportedly keep football players and fans safe, an additional 15,000 cameras equipped with facial recognition will watch the occasion and its participants. But it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to treat this monitoring with a fair grain of suspicion given the nation’s appalling record on human rights.
Additionally, a spokesman for the UK Information Commissioner’s Office told that the office is “aware of media reporting on this topic and we will assess the possible impact on the privacy rights of UK individuals.” She pointed out that the agency’s data rights website for travelers. “Anyone who is unhappy with the way their data has been handled can file a complaint with the ICO.”
Ehteraz, a Covid-19 tracker, and Hayya, which grants ticket holders admittance into the stadiums and access to complimentary metro and bus transportation services, are the two applications that football fans and other visitors to Qatar are required to download.
Even before it was used during the World Cup, Qatar’s Ehteraz contact tracking system drew criticism because it allowed remote access to users’ photos and videos and had the ability to place arbitrary calls.
Additionally, for Ehteraz to be able to read and write to the file system, background location services must always be enabled.
Ehteraz is able to set up an encrypted file that it claims to include information on other apps’ users’ nearby devices, including their proximity, configuration settings, infection status, QR code, and unique ID.
The bottom line is that customers are compelled to deliver out all sensitive IP on a silver platter upon arrival by downloading these applications, which are necessary to travel to Qatar and attend the World Cup.
Moderators will have total power over users’ devices after they have agreed to the rules of these applications. They have access to all of your personal stuff, including the data from other applications on your smartphone as well as the ability to alter, distribute, and remove it. Even the ability to remotely unlock users’ smartphones will be available to moderators.
What will be done with this unrestricted access by governmental snoops? Authoritarian governments are interested in tracking your contacts and acquaintances in the country.
In light of this, they’ll undoubtedly use these applications to scrape all of your contacts, go through your call and SMS history, monitor your whereabouts using GPS and device radio interfaces (bluetooth and wifi), and probably plunder your social network contacts, putting friends and acquaintances in risk.
Additionally, if you agree to the terms and conditions, the applications can keep tracking your movements and those of your contacts even after you leave Qatar. The only genuine answer, in line with the advice of government experts, is to get a burner phone.
Information security specialist, currently working as risk infrastructure specialist & investigator.
15 years of experience in risk and control process, security audit support, business continuity design and support, workgroup management and information security standards.