Muslim Pro users are posting negative reviews about the popular prayer and Quran app after a report revealed that it was selling users’ personal data to companies that then gave it to the US military.
In a bombshell report by Vice’s Motherboard, it was shown that the US military had purchased the location data of millions of Muslims from around the world.
The investigation found that apps such as Muslim Pro sold personal user information to a company called X-Mode, which obtained location data directly from apps and sold it to contractors.
Muslim Pro prayer app cuts ties with tech firm after US military buys user data
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The contractors were then said to have sold it to the US military, which had infamously used location data to target drone strikes using data obtained.
Muslim Pro dismissed the report as “incorrect and untrue”, but nonetheless told Middle East Eye that it was severing all ties with X-Mode. It did not respond to questions about which elements of Motherboard’s story were false.
The app, which Muslim Pro says has been downloaded over 98m times worldwide, is popular among Muslims who want to know prayer times, the direction for prayer, verses from the Quran and Islamic supplications.
According to Motherboard, US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), a branch of the military tasked with counterterrorism and counterinsurgency, bought access to user location data to assist on overseas special forces operations.
The report has caused uproar online, with many suggesting alternatives to the app and sharing other ways to stay updated with prayer times and the direction for prayer.
Several people have said on social media that they were uninstalling the app after it raised concerns about their data and surveillance of ordinary people.
The app has also received a backlash on Apple’s app store and Andorid’s play store, where people left negative reviews and warned others not to download it.
Some have used the news to draw parallels between US counterterrorism strategies and efforts at counter-radicalisation by the UK Home Office, such as the controversial Prevent programme, which Muslims say targets them disproportionately.
Using the hashtag #MuslimPro, people shared screenshots of them deleting the app and recommending alternatives.
Motherboard also reported that the Muslim dating app Muslim Mingle was found to be sending the precise geolocation coordinates of users’ phone and wifi network to X-Mode.
Many have used social media to request clarification and a statement from the company on the issue.