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US Military Buying Location Data Harvested from Muslim Pro Mobile App

Nov 17, 2020

Muslim Pro reminds users when to pray and what direction Mecca is in relation to the user’s current location. (AP)

Faizel Patel – 17/11/2020

(Twitter: @FaizelPatel143)

Muslims across the globe have been urged to delete a mobile app called Muslim Pro after it emerged  that it tracks users’ location and sells that location data to brokers with the US military being one of the buyers.

The prayer app with over 95 million downloads, reminds users about daily prayers and provides readings from the Quran including  precise Qibla directions from Makkah.

According to a new report from Vice’s Motherboard, Muslim Pro is one of hundreds of smartphone apps that make money by selling users’ location data to third party brokers.

Business Insider SA reports the US military bought Muslim Pro’s data through one of those third-party data brokers called X-Mode.

The practice has raised the ire of privacy advocates, but location data firms and their partners insist that people’s movements are anonymized and not directly tied to their identities.

However, some studies have shown that it’s easy to de-anonymize the location data and tie it back to individual people.

According to Business Insider SA, Representatives for Muslim Pro and X-Mode did not immediately respond to its requests for comment.

A dating app called Muslim Mingle which has been downloaded more than 100,000 times has also reportedly sent data to X-Mode.

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