Are Arsenal using a tracking app to follow people in and around the ground?



By Tony Attwood

Everyone knows that privacy is being eroded.    If we use a mobile phone or a credit card then the operators of the phone or card system will know where we were at a specific time.

And maybe that doesn’t matter to many of us.   Since I am not minded to commit any criminal actions, the railway company knowing that I entered a station at a particular time and exited another station a couple of hours later is neither here nor there for me, since I bought a ticket, didn’t start a fight, and by and large was a decent citizen throughout the journey.

And as for using my phone to get into Arsenal’s ground for home matches, well, that’s never been a secret.  I go to Arsenal home games.

But even so I do have some concerns about just how much I am being tracked.  I mean supposing I inadvertently spend some time by the entry gate to Arsenal waiting for my pal to come along while I am standing next to a known ticket tout.   Tracking my phone might suggest that I was the helper of the tout – just because I inadvertently spent quite a while standing next to him.

And I raise this point because everyone going to games for the Uefa competition in Germany is forced (yes forced) to use the official Uefa ticketing app on their phone.   Which can trace exactly where they are day and night.

And that problem has been highlighted by Bavarian TV, in a report (which is in German  but is translated as) “Fans at risk at Euro 2024” , as the authorities are actively tracking fans via the ticketing app.   And that is not tracking just in the ground – but everywhere – all the time.   And I guess will continue to do so, once the tournament is over.

Now there are some good reasons for doing this – such as seeing where too many people are in a restricted space which could cause a crush.  The police are altered to this and at least theoretically can act.

According to official reports, the app that is being used in Germany is only being used for anonymous tracking – which in effect means measuring the numbers and flow of people, not exactly who is where.

But the fact is that because the app is on each individual’s phone the potential for personal tracking is there.  And it has been confirmed that no one is being explicitly informed that they are being tracked through the app.

The app details however (which of course no one ever reads) says “Personal data is collected and processed in order to (help the authorities) take relevant safety and hygiene measures in connection with a match.”

Now Uefa has warned people that this is happening through its general data protection provision, suggesting that the app will tell Uefa where the individual is and where the individual is going.   Uefa also states that by using the app the user is authorising Uefa to give any or all of this information to the police.

Thus the question arises, what is the problem with the police knowing where you are and where you are going, if you are not committing a crime?   

Well, a while back I was accused by Arsenal of being a ticket tour, which of course I strongly denied.   I asked Arsenal to show me the evidence against me, which they refused to do, and eventually they dropped the case against me.   But this does show the danger of having more and more information about where we are and where we are going.   Such data is never complete, and thus inferences are made – all based on such things as where your mobile phone, (and by implication you) are at a specific moment.

The assumption of the authorities is that you and your mobile phone are together and of course that is often the case.  But really, are we all happy about the authorities knowing exactly where we are all the time?

I can’t actually think of any occasion when I would not want to admit where I was at a certain moment, but then I think, if I had a drugs problem (which I don’t) and was seeing a therapist, or I was having an affair (which I am not) and was visiting my extra-marital partner no I would not really want to be tracked.

Likewise, I might by pure chance be waiting for a friend outside of a branch of Barclays Bank while using my mobile phone; a bank which by coincidence was subject that night to a cyber attack.  I really don’t want to have to spend a fair amount of time being questioned as to why I was doing there and why.

The fact is lots of data is being gathered which is not necessary, and the more data gathered the more false inferences can be made.  It’s a very slippery slope.

Arsenal might well be able to track me, because of the app on my phone which gives access to the ground.  Hopefully, they are not tracking me, but I still would be happier if there wasn’t an app in the first place.

7 Replies to “Are Arsenal using a tracking app to follow people in and around the ground?”

  1. There were, and no doubt continue to be, terrorist threats made surrounding the Euros.. With some attacks having taken place in the months leading up to the Euros.
    If they are tracking people at the event in the interests of preventing a multi victim attack then thats fine by me

  2. When they installed the QR code for entry using the vacccination status in my country I refused to do this. I got a QR code because I got covid (not that I was sick, I tested positive and felt a bit uncomfortable for a few hours) so if I wanted I could get in to football grounds, pubs, restaurants….. But I don’t want to show my medical records to anyone apart from doctors. I don’t want to show a code on my phone to show that I am good citizen and follow whatever rule my governement tells me I should follow. I will let nobody dictaty my own physical integrity and certainly not a governement. I will decide for myself I want to follow a medical procedure and see what the risk/benefit analysis is for myself. The ‘do it for your grandmother – mantra’ was debunked somewhere in march 2021 if you did care to listen to the real science (and not the media and governement science).
    So I don’t like it when they force me to use something and certainly something that can track my movement. I know they can track my movements easily by just checking my bank account and see where I spend my money. But for now only my bank can follow me, and not the governement unless they got a reason to think I am in to something bad and get permission to see in to my bank account.
    In april 2020 I wrote that we are nearing a 1984 society where every move you made, every thought you have can bring you in trouble. I have never been someone to question governements until 2020, but since then I don’t like the control society they are slowly installing. As you say Tony, it is a slippery slope. I try to avoid entering the slope

  3. They could only use that as supporting evidence rather than as the sole evidence in a prosecution case because it leads to so many grey areas as in your case for example regarding the coincidence of similar location etc.

  4. @daveg,

    ok, but when you read about abuse of kids and proofs suddendly dissapearing, of kids health being impacted and medical files being lost with the authorities fully in the know – unless they don’t read newspapers or anything on the internet – do you really trust that it would be as you say ? That there will not be a case where you could be the person being falsely prosecuted because it fits someone’s agenda and they can use that data to their advantage ?

    I will never trust them. Neither High Tech nor governments

    Was just wondering if you could print your ticket’s QRCode and use that ? I mean, what if you phone stops working ?

  5. England are through then, and again Saka and Rice were immense. Saka capped his performance with the equalising goal and scoring his penalty in the shoot out. He was by far the MOTM.

    Flashscore, the stats based site had Saka MOTM on 8.6 out of 10 and Rice was second best on 8.1 out of 10.

    Given the nature of his performance it is hardly surprising they (BBC) are praising him, but again Rice may as well of sat on the bench for the mentions he’s getting.

    So so proud of our lads.

  6. A1 m

    “There were, and no doubt continue to be, terrorist threats made surrounding the Euros.”

    So, search the places where the terrorists are radicalised? Detain the people they suspect? Deport the people they KNOW are involved? But, they wont do that will they? They are too scared of the backlash. And that’s the point. They don’t fear the backlash from you and me. We’re just law abiding citizens. They can do what they want to us.

    Film you, follow you, track you, trace you. You cant do a thing about it.

    “If they are tracking people at the event in the interests of preventing a multi victim attack then that’s fine by me”

    Maybe for you, not for me. But I don’t have any choice do I. You’re being tracked mate. Like it or lump it.

    What if they decided to search your house without your permission? Well, there’s a lot of people growing Cannabis, stashing drugs and buying stolen goods and you might be one of them?

    What if they decided to check pour financials without your permission? Well, there’s a lot of cash laundering going on and you might be involved?

    What if they decided to check out your internet searches without your permission? Well, there’s a lot of sexual predators out there and you might be one of them?

    What if they not only tracked your phone but followed you where ever you went, constantly taking pictures of you? Well, you might be a spy handing secrets to dodgy Russian agents.

    You’re almost certainly none of them, but there are lots of people out there like that, that mean to do us, society, harm. More harm than terrorist ever do. Would that justify all those invasions of YOUR life for the greater good?

    If you think it does well welcome to 1984, because that is where we would be heading. Maybe you’ll be okay with Room 101 as well?

    Yes, we need protecting, but not at the expense of our privacy, from the Government.

  7. A1 m

    In my previous post I suggested you may okay with Room 101, and thinking about it you already are, because in your case Untold Arsenal is analogous for room 101.

    To re cap, Room 101, is the basement torture chamber in the Ministry of Love, in which the Party attempts to subject a prisoner to their own worst nightmare, fear or phobia, (Tony’s opinions on Untold Arsenal) with the objective of breaking down their resistance.

    Just imagine if you can, hour after our being subjected to Tony’s views. Winston’s rats would be but a mere bagatelle in comparison!

    O’Brien to Winston, or in this case A1 m:

    “You asked me once, what was in Room 101 (Untold Arsenal). I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101, (Untold Arsenal), is the worst thing in the world.”

    But here you are again.

    I can see now why this dystopian World holds no fears for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *