S’pore-Based App Muslim Pro Accused Of Selling Data To US Military

According to a Vice Media report released Monday, November 17, the US military is purchasing private information gathered from apps around the world.

One of the apps he allegedly bought information from is Muslim Pro, an app downloaded by over 98 million believers in Islam around the world.

The app offers services like an online Koranic library as well as a daily prayer calendar.

The report states that one of the app’s data buyers is from US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), an association believed to be closely linked to issues related to combating violence, counterfeiting and various covert activities across the world.

The Vice report added that the US military purchased Muslim Pro user data through a third-party data broker called X-Mode.

The data would include location information, the name of the Wi-Fi network a user is connected to, a time stamp, and information about the phone the app is installed on, such as its model.

Location data companies and their partners insist that people’s movements are anonymized and not directly linked to their identity, but other studies have shown that it is easy to de-anonymize data.

pro muslim sales data
Image Credit: Singapore News Live

Who is Muslim Pro?

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 claims it sells its users’ personal data to the US military.

Zahariah Jupary, Muslim Pro community leader, told the Straits Times that the app “adheres to the highest privacy standards and data protection regulations, and never shares any personally identifiable information.”

Muslim Pro
Screenshot of Google Play Store

To add, she said the app developer has launched an internal investigation and is reviewing its data governance policy.

They have since also terminated any partnership with X-Mode and other data partners. However, it was not revealed what Bitsmedia was working on with X-Mode.

Use caution when using apps

Often times, applications ask for access to personal information such as location data when you use them. And some of the information that these apps collect is needed for them to work properly.

That said, we need to be more careful with our data, which we willingly pass on to businesses.

As digital natives, we are increasingly comfortable with technology and we are disclosing more personal data than ever before despite increasing risks and consequences.

As users, we should be aware of the personal data we share with the apps, the terms and conditions that accompany the use of the apps and the content that those apps provide.

Featured Image Credit: 5 Pillars

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Jothi Venkat

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