The U.S. military is buying location data from some popular phone apps, according to a report published Monday from Vice Motherboard. One of the apps that sold its data is Muslim Pro, a Muslim prayer and Quran app that has been downloaded by more than 98 million devices worldwide.

In its investigation, Vice Motherboard analyzed a series of public records and interviewed a series of app developers.

The data that the military seeks is location data, which is purchased through a company called Babel Street through a product called Locate X and another company called X-Mode, which gets data directly from apps and sells it to contractors, the report said.

Muslim Pro specifically uses X-Mode to send location data as it tells users when to pray and which location to face Mecca during prayer time. According to the Google Play Store, the app has been downloaded over 50 million times on Android and over 98.4 million times on the Apple App Store, according to the Muslim Pro website.

In another contract, obtained by Vice through public records, it was found that the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) purchased Locate X from Babel Street to obtain location data for overseas special forces operations. While the exact nature of these operations was unclear, the USSOCOM is tasked with counterterrorism, counterinsurgency and special reconnaissance.

The contract with Babel Street was confirmed to Vice by Navy Cmdr. Tim Hawkins, a U.S. Special Operations Command spokesperson. “Our access to the software is used to support Special Operations Forces mission requirements overseas. We strictly adhere to established procedures and policies for protecting the privacy, civil liberties, constitutional and legal rights of American citizens," read the statement given to Vice.

The USSOCOM contract is evidence from Vice that this data has extended its way into the military, allowing the entity to see where a person is and has been on a map. The USSOCOM contract with Babel included text analysis, costing around $90,600, records obtained by Vice noted.

The USSOCOM contract is not the first time that the government news of location data purchases has surfaced. Back in March, Protocol reported that Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement were also using Locate X. The Internal Revenue Service has also purchased location data from a company called Venntel, Vice said.

The military has also bought data for a popular Muslim dating app Muslim Mingle, Craigslist app CPlus, storm-chaser app Global Storms, step counter app Accupedo, and leveling kit app.

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