X-Mode company’s codes might be running in some of your apps on your phone. The codes are tracking your device location and selling it. According to the latest news, Google and Apple are trying to put a stop to it. As per a Wall Street Journal article, the two companies have told developers to remove X-Mode’s code from their apps.
X-Mode gives developers codes to put into their apps, known as an SDK, which tracks users’ location and then sends that data to X-Mode, which in turn sells it. For this, X-Mode pays the developer a certain amount of commission based on how many users the app has. X-Mode’s technology is in over 400 apps, including many apps designed for Muslim users, such as one that reminds users when to pray.
Apple has given developers a deadline of two weeks to remove the SDK and Google is giving developers a time of one week along with an ability to apply for an extension of up to 30 days.
However, the model of tracking users’ locations and selling data is nothing new. The reason for which X-Mode might have been targeted because as per a report by Motherboard, it was selling information to the US military. Most of the apps that use the company’s codes are specially designed for Muslim populations so it is understandable why this is a concern.
Government services buying citizens’ location data is nothing new, but most of the time it is done through data brokers. Note that data brokers mostly aggregate the information from various sources but they are not the direct source themselves. X-Mode is now claiming that the company has been singled out with this allegation because they “collect similar mobile app data as most advertising SDKs”.
Note that X-Mode and other such companies get your location data only when given permission.