In every day web browsing, we actually only access and aware of about 1% of Internet data. There are many cases we heard of data being stolen ranging from pilfered credit card information, hijacked payment services accounts to hacked social media accounts. But have you ever wondered how much your personal information goes for with the apps you install on your mobile phone?
An investigation by “Motherboard, an online magazine, found that the US military procured location data from several popular apps. Muslim Pro and Muslim Mingle, a dating app, were among hundreds of smartphone apps providing their users’ location data to private companies.
In case of these apps, the third-party data brokers, a company called X-Mode, sold anonymous location data to different contractors, who then provided it to the U.S. military. The U.S. Special Operations Command, a military branch responsible for counterterrorism and counterinsurgency, purchased location data that X-Mode extracted from the apps to support overseas missions. Moreover, the investigation found other apps relaying location data include a step-counter app called Accupedo, the weather app Global Storms, and CPlus for Craigslist.
Later, Muslim Pro denied that it has sold data directly to the US military. The company is investigating the data governance practices to ensure that user data was managed according to global laws and regulations. Moreover, App is immediately ending its relationship with X-Mode and the other data partners, as well.
“The trust, millions of brothers and sisters of the Ummah put in Muslim Pro every day, means everything to us.” Also, it wrote in a statement after thousands of social media comments appeared from Muslims worldwide that it is something like “betraying” Muslims and allowing the military to “target” Muslims for surveillance.
Even though Muslim Pro has been downloaded more than 98 million times worldwide, it didn’t directly sell data to the military. But the users have pointed out the carelessness of the apps work with data partners.
Many hailed the social media to argue that this surveillance is just the latest effort in Muslims’ criminalization, both in the U.S. and worldwide.
The users have been deleting Muslim Pro from their devices this week out of anger and fear, with many left seeking alternatives.
The report has caused an uproar on Twitter, suggesting alternatives to the app to stay updated with prayer times.
Muslims have also posted jokes and memes, trying to make light of yet another form of being watched.
Another posted a video to show that Muslim pro owners are trying to make a statement that can convince their users after this surveillance.
Jokes apart, in 2018, a security company also found that Muslim Pro was among dozens of Android apps such as Tinder, Bible+, and OkCupid that were transmitting sensitive, non-anonymous user data to Facebook. Although, Muslim Pro has denied its sharing of data but you should not let these apps follow you! Thus, it is a challenge for a typical user to understand a mobile app’s implications and intent.
The real question to think, is this a day-to-day stealing of data or an agenda towards Muslims’ criminalization?