The US military buys location data gathered from mobile apps that are downloaded millions of times around the world, according to a new report.
The investigation was carried out by Motherboard, an online magazine owned by American-Canadian Vice Media group, through public records, interviews with developers, and technical analysis.
The most popular app among those targeted was a Muslim prayer and a Quran app called Muslim Pro, which gives users precise prayer timings, and shows the direction of the Holy Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The app was downloaded over 98 million times worldwide.
Others included a Muslim dating app, and an app for following storms, among others.
Many of the app users involved in the data supply chain are Muslim, which is viewed as a continuation of the decades-old US policy in predominantly in Muslim countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq.
A spokesperson of the US Special Operations Command, a branch of the military focused on counterterrorism, confirmed the news report, saying data was bought to assist its overseas operations.
Source: Anadolu Agency