back to article Germany says nein to Qatari World Cup spyware, err, apps

World Cup apps from the Qatari government collect more personal information than they need to, according to Germany's data protection agency, which this week warned football fans to only install the two apps "if it is absolutely necessary." Also: consider using a burner phone. The two apps are Ehteraz, a Covid-19 tracker from …

  1. James O'Shea Silver badge

    Not just no, but hell no

    There is simply no way. Not happening.

    And if I went, which isn't happening, yes I'd use a throwaway phone.

    1. Lil Endian Silver badge

      A burner...

      ... with a removable battery.

      With a nice, fresh address book, populated from sources such as Qatar State Security and Ministry of Interior, FIFA etc etc. Of course, some "honest guv!" photos featuring various Qatari football players in "niche" situations... A history of spoofed messages from Qatari footballers' unhappy wives... Well, you get it!

      Maybe some compromised apps that will get those in Qatar (and ?FIFA) chatting with some lovely, like-minded offal in, ooh, say China or Russia!

      Of course, the stuff that'd get one arrested/dead wouldn't be imported until juuuust before ditching the phone in the departure lounge, battery in and on-charge!

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: A burner...

        Considering the local security/Police just almost arrested a Danish journalist live on air, I'd think it best not to do *anything* that might attract attention.

        You'd think they'd have ALL got the memo about being on the world stage and being nice to everyone and not Business As Usual. I suspect we will be seeing multiple "mistakes" by the Qatari security and Police folks over the course of this event.

        Even Blatter is saying giving this to Qatar was a mistake now. I wonder if there were any brown envelopes or nondescript suitcases involved in the decision process?

        1. Schultz

          I wonder if there were any brown envelopes [...] involved

          You wonder, really?

          The German press talked extensively about the gifts that the various German soccer executives tried to smuggle back home from Katar. E.g., luxury watches in the case of former German Soccer Association president Theo Zwanziger or European Club Association chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. The smarter members of the German delegation were not caught with $100'000 luxury watches, interpret that as you want. I'd expect that less flashy gifts have been transferred more discretely.

          Imagine how blatant it must have been if even the Germans were caught with their bribes.

  2. Sleep deprived

    "After using the apps, the operating system [...] should be completely deleted."

    Deleting Android from my phone? I can't even get rid of Samsung's bloatware.

  3. Woodnag

    So a cellphone is mandatory to enter the country...

    ...just think about it.

    1. that one in the corner Silver badge

      Re: So a cellphone is mandatory to enter the country...

      Not long before they issue mandatory iAnkle locking bracelets "you don't want to risk losing your phone".

    2. James 139

      Re: So a cellphone is mandatory to enter the country...

      I look forward to the overly dramatic headlines in The Sun et al, things like "Football super fan gutted to be denied entry to Qatar" and "Terminally ill grandad of 39 cruelly denied entry to Qatar".

      1. Lil Endian Silver badge

        Netherlands Squad Boycotts Qatar 2022!

        Prefers To Be Stoned At Home!

        (Sorry! Mines the one with the blunt in the pocket!)

    3. arctic_haze

      Re: So a cellphone is mandatory to enter the country...

      Not even a cellphone. You need a smartphone and certainly not one with some niche OS.

  4. Lil Endian Silver badge


    Okay, notwithstanding the obvious wilful ignorance by FIFA of Qatar's human rights record/reports, I was wondering about FIFA's take on this blatant affront to football fans (its domestic customers/devotees). Then (thanks Jessica!):

    According to FIFA, Hayya is mandatory. "The Hayaa card is essentially a visa and is required to enter the country," a spokesperson told The Register ®.

    So, FIFA is a stakeholder in Hayya? (<-- Question mark, coz I didn't state it!) Or merely a beneficiary?


    Obviously, FIFA wouldn't protect travelling fans as they don't give a fuck about the welfare of (eg) construction workers' rights building stadiums for their event. And the fan's already paid!

    And the travelling fans? Well, they don't give a fuck for the same reasons that they don't care about said construction workers, or their rights having been dissolved in their home nation (observing our UK). Already beaten into submission, unaware, wilfully ignorant or on-board with state surveillance.


    So, should my burgeoning dream that FIFA will step in, under pressure from those travelling to Qatar, end with my recurring, hopeful naivety?


    1. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: FIFA?

      Why is the World Cup hosted there?

      One word: corruption.

      == Bring us Dabbsy back! ==

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: FIFA?

      FIFA considers Budweiser to be beer, too.

      1. Lil Endian Silver badge

        Re: FIFA?

        The more I hear about these guys! Jeez!!

      2. Evil Scot

        Re: FIFA?

        But which one?

        The beer of kings, or the king of beers?

        One of those is real beer.

        Icon goes to the not sponsor.

        1. Martin-73 Silver badge

          Re: FIFA?

          Ah yes, the duality of the budweiser name. So often a source of confusion.

          Hint, if it tastes like wee, it's the AB version

    3. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: FIFA?

      FIFA does not care. Qatar paid enough money.

      Just like MotoGP, where the 1st race of the year is in Qatar, and I do not watch it.

      It's so damn hot the bike tyres melt, so they have to race at night, and they put in an extremely expensive set of lights.

      1. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: FIFA?

        Qatar, if it has that much money, should put it toward human rights

        1. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

          Re: FIFA?

          Why would they do that? Give the subhumans* the same rights as elites, and they'd have to share some of that money out.

          *That includes me, before anyone gets their knickers in a twist.

  5. Winkypop Silver badge

    No, not on your Qatari!

    That’s a hard no from me.

    By extension this also means no flying Qatar Airlines (remember the forced internal pregnancy tests?)

    Why give these barbarians your business?

    1. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: No, not on your Qatari!

      Most Arab states are the same. It appears racist or bigoted, but some cultures just ... are inherently evil

  6. MrGreen

    Don’t Worry

    Don’t worry, Gary Neville said he’s going over there to call them out on any wrongdoing.

    1. WolfFan Silver badge

      Re: Don’t Worry

      Can it be set up so that he has to drive there? And that they must keep him?

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. genghis_uk

      Re: It was worth a war then?

      You may be a few hundred miles too south... it was Kuwait in the first gulf war.

      There is a big chunk of Saudi Arabia between Iraq and Qatar

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It was worth a war then?

      > Remember that this is the same Qatar

      And this, gentlemen, is the problem with cutbacks in education.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It was worth a war then?

      > this is the same Qatar that

      Err… no. Actually this is the Qatar that hosts and funds Al Jazeera, a 24 hour news station known for exposing US (and others) war crimes and whose offices and reporters have a habit of getting accidentally targeted.

      While the CNIL is absolutely correct in pointing out the different privacy framework and practices between Qatar and France and that's something that travelers should definitely be aware of, I do find the editorialising a bit hypocritical.

      1. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: It was worth a war then?

        Two wrongs don't make a right... Al Jazeera is indeed a very good news source for an alternate perspective, this however does NOT absolve Qatar of human rights abuses. Homosexuality illegal? this isn't the 1950s

        1. Lil Endian Silver badge

          Re: It was worth a war then?

          +1 Martin

          7 June 1954

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do they discover it now?

    People had to have Ehteraz installed for a long time, during the pandemic. There was a lot of people working in Qatar to build the stadiums and everything around - many of them from Europe as well - all of them with Ehteraz on their phones if they wished to work (and many of them were sent there by the companies they work for, without many choices), and they discover it only now because of deep-pockets football fans who can stay at home and watch matches on TV if they don't like the tracking? Companies making money was fine, now that some politician and journalist wish to watch a ball kicked themselves, and boast about it on social media, it becomes an important issue?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It would be interesting to see

    How these apps compare with, say, Instagram or WhatsApp.

    I look forward to the criticism and condemnation from Western politicians and media when people's devices are cloned at the border… in 2026. :)

  10. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

    This is a bunch of lies!

    If the apps did such things, they wouldn't have been allowed in Apple Store because it is a secure marketplace!

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: This is a bunch of lies!

      Which is incredibly infuriating. When governments were trying to respond to a genuine emergency and get Covid apps out the door quickly we had Google and Apple grandstanding about what great defenders of privacy they were, and refusing to allow those apps. So we had to wait many moons for everyone to get together and get something designed.

      As if Google gave a fuck about privacy...

      But apparently they're happy to let Qatar bung its dodgy shit into their app stores for... Reasons. Possibly large numbers of foldable ones kept in brown envelopes...

  11. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    I am shocked, shocked, to learn that the dictatorial government of a country built on slave labour might behave in an unpleasant way. Next you'll be suggesting that FIFA is not always wholly scrupulous in its financial dealings.

  12. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Clever thinking

    Lets see if James Cleverly the UK Foreign Secretary's phone gets hacked - one presumes that he will use a burner phone for the duration of his visit to the World Cup

    1. Cynical Pie

      Re: Clever thinking

      James Cleverly... if ever there was an example that nominative determinism is utter tosh these days

    2. Lil Endian Silver badge

      Re: Clever thinking

      Lets see if James Cleverly the UK Foreign Secretary's phone gets isn't already hacked

      Hello Cheltenham et al!

      one presumes that he will use a burner phone for the duration of his visit to the World Cup

      Only if someone explains it to him really simply. (+1 Cynical!) I can hear it now: Sunak: Don't forget your stick Lieutenant!

  13. Claptrap314 Silver badge

    "At this point...

    you had better HOPE that this decision (to hold the World's Cup in Qatar) is the result of bribery. Because that is the ONLY way this decision can make any sense."

    I'm not a fan of that comedian, but I'm pretty sure he called it.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Register Server could not parse my response. That is all.

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