Apps that Qatari government is requiring World Cup goers to download are a threat to privacy

Norwegian outlet NRK’s Head of Security, Øyvind Vasaasen, has analysed the two apps that that Qatari government will require all World Cup going arrivals to the tournament which starts next month and has concluded that both represent a major threats to personal privacy.

The two apps in question are as follows:

Ehteraz – a COVID-19 tracking app which requests access to read, delete or change all content on your phone, as well as access to connect to WiFi and Bluetooth, override other apps and prevent the phone from switching off and entering sleep mode. Everyone over the age of 18 coming to Qatar must download it, and the app can additionally view your exact location, has the ability to make direct calls via your phone and to disable your screen locking.

And Hayya – which is the digital passport for your World Cup tickets and will give you free metro access. It requests to access your personal information with almost zero restriction. It is also able to determine the phone’s exact location, stopping the device from entering sleep mode and being able to access network connections.

Ehteraz is able to track your movement, and the mobile phones that are near you. In this way, they can cross-check information and uncover who you are meeting with and talking to.

The Qatari government has not made any public statement on security concerns around their mandatory mobile applications at the time of writing.

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