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US Military Buys Location Data From Apps

A slew of apps sells location data from users around the world to the US military. This includes a prayer app and a dating app for Muslims, as well as a weather app and a digital spirit level.


Collecting data is part of what the US military calls ‘anti-terrorism’. This should be evident from research by tech site Motherboard. According to the site, the military gets its location data on the one hand via ‘Locate X’, the product of a company called Babel Street.

The military’s anti-terrorism department buys this data for use in global special forces operations. Also, there is also a data stream called X-Mode, which retrieves location data directly from apps.

Among the apps whose data has been sold is Muslim Pro, a Muslim prayer app that has been downloaded in excess of 98 million times worldwide. The other apps whose user data has been sold include a Craigslist app, a dating app called Muslim Mingle, a storm weather app, and a digital spirit level.

Also read: Dutch government wants clarification about data collection by Defense

The idea that a prayer app or an app to straighten your shelves could make you the target of, let’s say, drone strikes is disturbing, to say the least.

The US military has used a variety of location data in the past to do just that in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. It is consequently no fluke that quite a few apps in these data streams are aimed at Muslims.

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