A Muslim prayer app called Muslim Pro made the news due to allegations of its user location data being sold. And one of the buyers include the US Military, which is also buying data from other similar apps.
Vice first broke the report, which explains that the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) bought data stream from two different companies. One of them is X-Mode, which collects location data from apps to be sold. And Muslim Pro is one of the apps that X-Mode collects data from, with the two being data partners.
The US Military has also confirmed the report. In a statement to Al Jazeera, it says that such access is used to support missions overseas.
Media reports are circulating that Muslim Pro has been selling personal data of its users to the US Military. This is INCORRECT and UNTRUE. Muslim Pro is committed to protecting and securing our users’ privacy. This is a matter we take very seriously. #MuslimPro pic.twitter.com/2Lu0Zgvso1
— Muslim Pro (@MuslimPro) November 17, 2020
In a statement on Twitter, the team behind the Muslim Pro app denies directly selling user location data. In clarification, the dev team says that it shares anonymised data to partners to improve its service. The team also says that it is terminating its partner relationship with X-Mode, and all other data partners, following the report.
It’s an unsurprising move to make, considering the allegations. After all, Muslim Pro boasts a download number of over 98 million. And no surprise as to why it’s been downloaded so many times too. It’s a useful tool for getting prayer time reminders and the direction of Mecca, among other services.