The World Cup is usually a party for the fans. However, for this year’s edition, fans will be more closely watched even from the moment they get off the plane in Qatar, since it will be necessary to have two applications on the smartphone that have been considered invasive by various computer security experts.
The World Cup is going to start on November 20, but months before, a series of behavior guidelines have emerged from the Qatari government, as well as recommendations from local governments for tourists who go to the competition. Among them is the use of the Ehteraz and Haya applications.
What is the Ehteraz app?
Although the covid-19 pandemic is decreasing and the use of face masks is optional in more countries around the world, in Qatar the control over this disease is much stricter and all tourists must have the Ehteraz app on their mobile devices.
According to the recommendations of the , all people over 18 years of age must register on the Ehterz page, download and install the application. On this website, visitors register information such as health status, PCR test and vaccination schedule.
They then receive a QR code, which will be necessary to enter the country and can be seen through Ehteraz (which means Caution), a tracking application for covid-19 cases.
However, according to the analyzes of cybersecurity experts, it requests access to areas of smartphones that are too private. For example, it asks for access to read, delete or change the content of the device. It also requests it to connect to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, in addition to overriding other apps and preventing the phone from going into sleep mode.
You also get other access, such as an overview of the user’s exact location, the ability to make direct calls through the phone, or even the power to disable the screen lock.
What is the Hayya app for?
On the other hand, (which means “Let’s go”) is less invasive, but just as worrying for the cyber security of users. This application requests access to share personal information with almost no restrictions.
It also has access to determine the exact location of the phone, prevent it from going to sleep and see the device’s network connections, that is, it has an intrusion on aspects of daily use for users.
The privacy risks of these apps
For cybersecurity experts, these applications represent a risk, because those who control them have the opportunity to know everything the user does or plans to do during their stay, which can harm their experience considering that it will be one of the most restrictive World Cups of history
And it is that in the Asian country harsh rules will be applied, such as that you will not be able to have sexual relations between single people, in addition to the fact that public demonstrations of affection between people of the LGBTIQ + community will not be allowed, who could be arrested for between seven and 11 years, according to the country’s authorities.
Likewise, Islamic law and the penal code prohibit the consumption of any alcoholic beverage in a public space with up to six months in prison and a fine of up to 3,000 riyals (approximately $800).