A report by Vice has revealed how Muslim Pro, a popular mobile application that has over 150 million downloads on Apple Store, sells the location data of it’s subscribers to the brokers including the United States military.
The report found that US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), a branch of the military tasked with counterterrorism, counterinsurgency and special reconnaissance, bought user location data via defence contractors who obtained it via X-Mode.
According to the Vice, “the data is reportedly collected by a third party called X-Mode, which then sells it to contractors.”
The mobile app, with its Android and iOS version, shows the user the direction of Mecca depending on their location.
It also provides audio recordings of the Quran and reminders for users to pray and read certain Quranic verses.
The U.S. Special Operations Command spokesperson, Navy Cmdr. Tim Hawkins, confirmed the X-Mode purchase and added “Our access to the software is used to support Special Operations Forces mission requirements overseas.
“We strictly adhere to established procedures and policies for protecting the privacy, civil liberties, constitutional and legal rights of American citizens.”
However, Zahariah Jupary, head of community at Muslim Pro, dismissed Motherboard’s report in a discussion with journalists as “incorrect and untrue”, but nonetheless said it was severing all ties with X-Mode.
Citing respect for the millions of Muslims using the app for worship every day, Jupary told Middle East Eye: “We are immediately terminating our relationships with our data partners – including with X-Mode, which started four weeks ago.
“We will continue to take all necessary measures to ensure that our users practise their faith with peace of mind, which remains Muslim Pro’s sole mission since its creation.”
Thousands of users took to social media to condemn Muslim Pro, with some deleting the app in protest and promoting other apps.