The world’s Muslims have just been shocked by the news from one of the most popular mobile applications, Muslim Pro. As a prayer reminder and Quran recitation application, Muslim Pro has been downloaded by 98 million Muslims around the world.
Even though they claim to be the ‘Most Popular Muslim Application’, the owners of Muslim Pro have the heart to sell the personal data of Muslims who are their customers to the United States (US) military.
The new report is the latest illustration of how government agencies can go to private data brokers to collect granular information on individuals’ movements, including US citizens. Some lawmakers have called for the practice to be more heavily regulated after it was revealed that the Department of Homeland Security bought location data to track down people suspected of immigrating to the US illegally.
They sell location data to get money from third parties. The US military itself buys the data through third parties who do buy data from Muslim Pro.
Navy Cmdr. Tim Hawkins, a US Special Operations Command spokesman, said in a statement to Business Insider that the command bought the data from Babel Street was “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,” Hawkins said.
Senator Ron Wyden told Motherboard in a statement that X-Mode said it is selling location data harvested from U.S. phones to U.S. 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.
The practice provoked a lot of outrage from defenders of confidentiality of personal data and sparked a frenzy of global Muslim netizens on Twitter.