Vice’s Motherboard reported that another popular Muslim prayer app has been accused of selling user location data to tech companies with ties to the US military.
On Monday, the tech website reported that the “Salaat First” app was selling user location data to Predicio. It is a French company that was previously part of a complex data supply chain involving a US government contractor working with the FBI, Customs and Border Protection.
Motherboard stated that it obtained a large data set of initial and minute movements of app users from the “source”.
He said the source was “concerned” that such sensitive information would track Muslims as they go about their daily lives, and could be misused by those who buy and use the data.
The source added – according to the site – that “tracking throughout the day provides a lot of information, and it should not be useful to you, especially if you are not aware of that.”
According to the technology website, information was found that the application sold user data on Android, as the application was downloaded more than 10 million times.
App developer Hisham Bouchahaba did not respond to requests from Middle East Eye – which published the news – for comment, but told Motherboard that data collection only begins if the app is downloaded in the United Kingdom, Germany, France or Italy.
Bouchahaba confirmed that the application sent users’ location data to Pridqio, but said that he “decided to terminate the agreement” on December 6, after the scandal related to the popular prayer app, Muslim Pro.
A Google spokesperson told Motherboard, “The Google store prohibits the sale of personal or sensitive data that is collected through the store applications. We investigate all claims related to applications that violate our policies, and if we confirm there is a violation, we take action.”
Pridqio closed its website shortly after Monday’s report, and issued a statement saying that it “does not support any government, commercial, or private use cases aimed at using business intelligence data to identify ethnic, religious or political groups to track people or identify people of any kind.” .
The “Prayer First” application is the latest in a series of applications aimed at Muslims, which were found to have sold their data to companies with links to the US government.
Motherboard revealed in November that MuslimPro – whose app has been downloaded nearly 100 million times worldwide – sold its data to the data company X-Mode, which in turn sold the information to The US Army.
The news sparked international condemnation and a new debate about the US government’s mass surveillance programs on Muslims in the wake of its “war on terror.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) – the largest Islamic civil rights organization in the United States – has called for a congressional investigation into possible surveillance of American Muslims.
“We are calling on Congress to conduct a thorough public investigation into the government’s use of personal data to target the Muslim community here and abroad, including the possibility of this data being used to illegally spy on targeted Muslim Americans,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad.
On Monday, US Senator Ron Wyden – whose office has been conducting an investigation into the data-brokerage industry by technology companies – told Motherboard on Monday that we “need to block every single misleading and deceptive data broker from their app stores.”