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Fri Dec 4, 2020, 03:16 AM

ACLU files request over data US collected via Muslim app used by millions

Source: The Guardian

ACLU files request over data US collected via Muslim app used by millions

‘Harvesting of data on Muslim app users worldwide is a serious threat to privacy and religious freedom,’ the ACLU says

Gabrielle Canon
@GabrielleCanon
Thu 3 Dec 2020 21.34 GMT

The American Civil Liberties Union is seeking the release of three years of records that could shed light on how the US government acquired cellphone location data collected through apps used by millions of Muslims around the world.

The Freedom of Information Act (Foia) request, filed on Thursday by the ACLU and CUNY Law School’s Clear clinic, follows an investigation published last month in Motherboard that revealed tech companies, including the one connected to the Muslim Pro app, sold personal location data of its users to the US military and defense contractors. The Muslim Pro app has been downloaded by close to 100 million people and is used to aid Muslims in planning prayer, finding local halal food and fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. Data collected from a Muslim dating app, a Craigslist app, and an app used for tracking storms was also sold to US agencies.

“The harvesting of data on Muslim app users worldwide is a serious threat to privacy and religious freedom,” the ACLU said on Twitter on Thursday morning, adding that the records it is seeking would help answer questions that could help prevent this kind of data harvesting in the future. “This is yet another betrayal of trust for communities who have long been subjected to intrusive, often unconstitutional surveillance by governments in the United States,” the organization added.

In the official request, filed against 10 federal agencies including each branch of the US military, the Department of Justice, the DEA, CIA and FBI, the organizations allege that the data sales discriminate against Muslims and violate the fourth amendments, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. The document also cites a 2018 supreme court ruling that specifically bars law enforcement agencies from obtaining this kind of data without a search warrant.

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/dec/03/aclu-seeks-release-records-data-us-collected-via-muslim-app-used-millions

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