According to a Vice Media report published on Monday, the US military is buying private information gathered from apps around the world, one of them being Muslim Pro, which features services like an online Quran library as well as a daily prayer timing schedule and has been downloaded by over 98 million faithful worldwide.
The report states that one of the app’s data buyers is the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), an association believed to be closely connected to issues relating to anti-violence, anti-counterfeiting, and various secret activities across the globe. The Vice report added that the US military bought Muslim Pro’s user data via a third-party data broker called X-Mode.
The data reportedly includes location information, the name of the Wi-Fi network a user is connected to, a timestamp, and information about the phone the app is installed on, such as its model. Location-data firms and their partners insist that people’s movements are anonymized and not directly tied to their identities, but other studies have shown that it is easy to de-anonymize that data.
Muslim Pro is owned by Singapore-based developer Bitsmedia, with CEO Erwan Macé at the helm. According to The Straits Times, the company has denied allegations that it is selling the personal data of its users to the United States military.
Zahariah Jupary, Muslim Pro’s head of community, told The Straits Times that the app “adheres to the most stringent privacy standards and data protection regulations, and never shares any personal identifiable information.” She further said that the app developer has launched an internal investigation and is reviewing its data governance policy.
The company has also since terminated any partnerships with X-Mode and other data partners. Bitsmedia didn’t reveal what it was working on together with X-Mode.
This article was originally published by Vulcan Post.