Two apps geared toward Muslims are under scrutiny for selling their users’ location data, according to Motherboard.
One of these apps is Muslim Pro, which provides prayer times and shows users the correct direction to face when praying, and which has more than 98.7 million downloads worldwide. Another app is Muslim Mingle, a dating app with more than 100,000 downloads.
Motherboard reports that Muslim Pro and Muslim Mingle sold user location data to a firm named X-Mode. X-Mode is a company that collects and sells location data to clients including U.S. defense contractors.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) told Motherboard that his office had a call with attorneys for X-Mode, and they would not name the defense contractors or U.S. government agencies purchasing user location data of these apps.
In a statement to Motherboard, X-Mode said, “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, cyber-security and predicting future COVID-19 hotspots.”
Following the Motherboard investigation, Muslim Pro confirmed it was ending its relationship with X-Mode and other data brokers, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Majlis Ash-Shura of New York, a nonprofit representing more than 90 mosques and Muslim organizations in New York, encouraged its social media followers to delete their Muslim Pro app in light of the Motherboard investigation.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim civil rights group in the U.S., called upon Congress to investigate whether the U.S. military is purchasing information from these apps.
In a letter addressed to three House committee chairs, CAIR Director of Government Affairs Department Robert McCaw wrote, “For years, far too many Muslim Americans have experienced spying, profiling, and other forms of government discrimination here at home […]. The notion that our government might be using popular religious applications to engage in such conduct simply adds insult to injury.
“CAIR believes that a full and public congressional inquiry is required to explore one of the first documented cases of the U.S. military purchasing the movement and location data of Muslim app users – including American Muslims.”
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