Yesterday, Muslim pro’s team issued a statement rejecting claims circulating in the media that the app has been selling its user’s personal data to US military. The statement called these claims “incorrect and untrue”.
It explained that the app takes pride in respecting the anonymity of their users, and the functionality of their features is not even dependent on signing or logging in, except for the “community section”.
“We apply industry-standard security arrangements and protective measures and select leading technology partners to keep our data safe and secure on our cloud infrastructure. We have also been open and transparent about the personal information we collect, store and process because the trust of millions of brothers and sisters of the Ummah put in Muslim Pro every day means everything to us,” the statement read.
Media reports are circulating that Muslim Pro has been selling personal data of its users to the US Military. This is INCORRECT and UNTRUE. Muslim Pro is committed to protecting and securing our users’ privacy. This is a matter we take very seriously. #MuslimPro pic.twitter.com/2Lu0Zgvso1
— Muslim Pro (@MuslimPro) November 17, 2020
The prayer app has initiated an internal investigation and it is reviewing their data governance policy to make sure all user data is “handled in line with all existing requirements.” Muslim Pro admitted to sharing “anonymized” data their selected technology partners who are bound by laws and regulations to respect and protect their user’s privacy. The prayer app did so to improve their services and “help businesses enhance their product and service offerings.”
“Regardless, we have decided to terminate our relationships with all data partners, including X-Mode, effective immediately,” the statement said.
“We are committed to helping the Muslim community practice their faith. Our comprehensive Islamic mobile application, reaches almost 100 million users across more than 216 countries worldwide. We apologize to all our users for the concern that these reports have caused them and we can confirm that your data is secure with us. We value the importance of practicing one’s faith as well as our users’ privacy and will do everything we can to ensure we deliver on this promise,” the statement added.
Allegations on Muslim Pro
US Military has reportedly brought the location data of millions of Muslims from across the world who have used popular Muslim prayer app and dating apps, reported Vice’s Motherboard on November 17.
The technology website claims that the US Military used two methods to obtain the location data of the users. The first method involves the usage of Locate X.
According to Motherboard, US Special Operations Command, a branch of the US military tasked with counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, and special reconnaissance bought access to Locate X to assist Overseas Special forces operations.
The second method involves obtaining data from the company called X-Mode that directly obtains data from the applications and sell to contractors.
The reports claimed that the Muslim Pro app, that gives prayer timings and direction to Mecca from the user’s current location. The app also provides Quranic recitation to the users and claims itself as the popular Muslim applications.
What the hell? A Muslim prayer app used by 100 million people has been selling location data to the US military for “counterterrorism.” https://t.co/57dCOEIl9U
— Jeremy McLellan (@JeremyMcLellan) November 16, 2020
Senator Ron Wyden told Motherboard that X-Mode was selling location data taken from US phones to US military customers.
“In a September call with my office, lawyers for the data broker X-Mode Social confirmed that the company is selling data collected from phones in the United States to U.S. military customers, via defense contractors. Citing non-disclosure agreements, the company refused to identify the specific defense contractors or the specific government agencies buying the data,” the statement read.
Back in April, the CEO of X-Mode, Joshua Anton revealed that the company tracks 25 million devices in the US every month and 40 million elsewhere including Latin America, European Union, Asia-Pacific region.
Observers have commented that users of these apps would be shocked to know their data is revealed to the US Military.
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