Visiting Qatar means loading your phone with spyware (or worse)

Everyone travelling to Qatar during the football World Cup will be asked to download two apps called Ehteraz and Hayya.

Briefly, Ehteraz is an covid-19 tracking app, while Hayya is an official World Cup app used to keep track of match tickets and to access the free Metro in Qatar.

In particular, the covid-19 app Ehteraz asks for access to several rights on your mobile., like access to read, delete or change all content on the phone, as well as access to connect to WiFi and Bluetooth, override other apps and prevent the phone from switching off to sleep mode.

The Ehteraz app, which everyone over 18 coming to Qatar must download, also gets a number of other accesses such as an overview of your exact location, the ability to make direct calls via your phone and the ability to disable your screen lock.

The Hayya app does not ask for as much, but also has a number of critical aspects. Among other things, the app asks for access to share your personal information with almost no restrictions. In addition, the Hayya app provides access to determine the phone’s exact location, prevent the device from going into sleep mode, and view the phone’s network connections.

– They can simply change the contents of your entire phone and have full control over the information that is there, is the conclusion of NRK’s security manager.

– When you download these two apps, you accept the terms stated in the contract, and those terms are very generous. You essentially hand over all the information in your phone. You give the people who control the apps the ability to read and change things, and tweak it. They also get the opportunity to retrieve information from other apps if they have the capacity to do so, and we believe they do.

During my recent travels, I’ve been “forced” to download a number of COVID apps proving I’ve been vaccinated by a number of nations onto my phone. Need I say more?


Sounds like people are going to need a burner phone. Put as little information on it as you can and enjoy yourself.



Exactly what I was thinking. And, as you step on the plane out of the country, toss the phone, or, better yet, take a ball-peen hammer to it.

For those who missed it, a USian is in prison in Saudi, for tweets he sent on his phone, while he was in the US.

In case this one hasn’t made the national news, a metro Detroit man was arrested in Saudi for shooting off his mouth to, what turned out to be, Saudi under cover agents.

People traveling to these countries need to be mindful they are in repressive police states, and they can’t get away with the behavior that is accepted in the US.



When I travel, I consciously make sure there are no uniformed people included in my photos, that I’m not taking a photo of a government building, warship, military aircraft, security setups or even train stations and airports. I don’t talk politics and never say anything electronically that I would feel uncomfortable if the local cops read.


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I just try to stay out of any of those places. I’ve never been able to keep my mouth shut!