Popular Muslim mobile app, Muslim Pro, has been accused of selling its users’ data to the US military. This is what we know.
Dubbed the No. 1 Muslim app in the world, Muslim Pro reportedly has about 100 million downloads across approximately 200 countries.
The app gives prayer times according to the location of its users as well as reminders to pray with the call to prayer (Adhan).
It also features the full Quran with Arabic scripts, phonetics, translations and audio recitations as well as a Qibla locator, an Islamic Hijri calendar, a map of halal restaurants and Mosques, etc.
Breach of Privacy
“A Muslim prayer app with over 98 million downloads is one of the apps connected to a wide-ranging supply chain that sends ordinary people’s personal data to brokers, contractors, and the military.”
Through calls, interviews with developers and technical analysis, Motherboard tech (Vice.com) revealed that they uncovered two separate, parallel data streams (Babel Street and X-mode) that the U.S. military uses, or has used, to obtain location data.
Muslim Pro is among the apps selling data to X-mode which in turn sells to the US military. The collection and sale of data to the US military is said to have been an anti-terrorism attempt. The US military confirmed the news report.
“Our access to the software is used to support Special Operations Forces mission requirements overseas,” Navy Commander Tim Hawkins was quoted as saying. “We strictly adhere to established procedures and policies for protecting the privacy, civil liberties, constitutional and legal rights of American citizens.”
X-Mode is a data aggregation and management platform that focuses on the curation and use of precise location data to help a variety of organizations develop insights about aggregated human traffic patterns.
Trust over Privacy
Hundreds of Muslims have uninstalled the app from their mobile phones following the report. It has 50,000,000+ downloads on the Google Playstore and over 98,000,000 downloads across different platforms.
Nexus News gathered comments of Muslims reacting to the alleged selling of their data. The majority were furious over the loss of trust over the breach of privacy.
We reliably gathered that most Muslim commentators do not feel betrayed because they are planning terrorist attacks secretly but that a Muslim app could secretly sell their information.
Muslim Pro responds
Consequent upon the allegation, Muslim Pro debunked the story calling it “incorrect and untrue”. They wrote,
“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”
Social media commentators have reacted to Muslim Pro team’s response to the allegations. This is a summary of the questions gathered;
- What part of the allegation is incorrect untrue?
- Why cut ties with X-mode if data was not directly or indirectly sold?
- If Muslim Pro team claim that they do not know X-mode was selling the data, did Muslim Pro inform its users it would sell their data to X-mode?
Nexus News furthered investigation to ascertain the extent of what Muslim Pro could do with the information it collects from users’ devices.
We installed the Muslim Pro app, our permission was sought to access our location for accurate prayer times;
On the Google Playstore, under Android Permission, we got more information on why Muslim Pro needs location of users. They wrote,
“Location (GPS and network-based): your location is required to calculate accurate prayer times, the Qibla and to find halal restaurants and mosques nearby.”
These are what we know about the Muslim Pro app and data leak to US Military.