16th November 2020   •   article
Muslim Pro, an app for prayer times, sells location data that ends up with US Military - report

by Barfi Culture Team | @barfi_culture.
Image: Muslim Pro website
Muslim Pro, a popular app for Apple and Android smartphones, sells location data to a company that then sells it on US military contractors, a report claimed today. The app makers have yet to respond.

It isn't the only app that the US military buys location data from. But given history of the US government using such data for counter-terrorism, the report by VICE is likely to cause huge controversy and consternation.

Here is a summary from Vice Motherboard's report.

  • Apps such as Muslim Pro, Muslim Mingle and others sent location data to a company called X-Mode.

  • Vice claims that X-Mode, "obtains location data directly from apps, then sells that data to contractors, and by extension, the military."

  • "X-Mode then sells access to this sort of data to a wide range of different clients. Motherboard has previously shown that one of those clients includes a private intelligence firm whose goal is to use location data to track people down to their 'doorstep'."

    Some of those clients have included US military contractors.

    There is no evidence, yet, that apps such as Muslim Pro and others sell data directly to the US military.

    But Senator Ron Wyden told Vice: "In a September call with my office, lawyers for the data broker X-Mode Social confirmed that the company is selling data collected from phones in the United States to U.S. military customers, via defense contractors. Citing non-disclosure agreements, the company refused to identify the specific defense contractors or the specific government agencies buying the data."

    "X-Mode licenses its data panel to a small number of technology companies that may work with government military services, but our work with such contractors is international and primarily focused on three use cases: counter-terrorism, cybersecurity and predicting future COVID-19 hotspots," X-Mode added in its email to Vice.

    On social media the reaction was swift

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