Most of you might already know that certain free apps tend to sell user data to third-parties or advertisers, to generate income.
However, some of the innocuous-looking apps in your phone could be selling your data to the United States military.
The US military is apparently buying location data about everyone around the world, particularly Muslims, retrieved by Islamic mobile apps. Two of the apps reported to be connected to the wide-ranging supply chain of data sale includes “Muslim Pro” and “Muslim Mingle”, which has over 98 million and over 100,000 downloads, respectively.
It is reported that the US military uses a data stream through a company called “X-Mode”, which obtains granular movement data from apps, before selling it to contractors and the military. It doesn’t help the fact that the apps mentioned earlier are mostly used by Muslims, since the US military is infamously known for using location data to target drone strikes.
As the news came to light, netizens are freaked out and outraged with the fact that their sensitive data is being sold without their consent, not to mention that the data is retrieved by an app which provide Muslims with prayer essentials.
Check out their reactions below:
Muslim Pro, the Muslim prayer app with over 98 million downloads is one of the apps connected to a wide-ranging supply chain that sends ordinary people's personal data to brokers, contractors, and the military.
I hate that I'm shocked but damn https://t.co/WNAcmcZEUQ
— Rowaida Abdelaziz (@Rowaida_Abdel) November 16, 2020
This has me and the rest of the digital muslim world in shambles. Just gonna start searching up prayer times on safari. https://t.co/9ooQyP2bMq
— Abdifatah Fiqo (@AbdifatahFiqo) November 17, 2020
muslim pro made by a french non muslim apparently LMFAOOOOOOOOOOOOO DAWG WE GOT PLAYED LIKE A MF 😭😭
— mustafa (@mxstafaa) November 16, 2020
We would like to advise everyone to be wary when downloading any kind of apps in your phone and agreeing to its terms and conditions.
Update (18th November 2020):
“Muslim Pro” developer Bitsmedia has denied allegations that they are selling sensitive user data to the U.S military. The Singapore-based developer told a news portal that they will immediately terminate the relationship with their current data partners, without specifying the name.
Update (23rd November 2020):
“Muslim Pro” is currently working with their stakeholders and the authorities to transparently establish the facts surrounding these allegations that are shedding an undeserved negative light on their reputation. The team behind the app also asserted that they have never provided any third party with non-anonymous data and that “X-Mode” has confirmed with them on 17th November (Tuesday) that they have ceased to work with the reported US military contractors, long before the app and the company were partners.