Do you work at Babel Street, X-Mode, Venntel, or one of the apps mentioned in this piece? Did you used to, or know anything else about the location data industry? We'd love to hear from you. Using a non-work phone or computer, you can contact Joseph Cox securely on Signal on +44 20 8133 5190, Wickr on josephcox, OTR chat on firstname.lastname@example.org, or email email@example.com.
Motherboard found another network of dating apps that look and operate nearly identically to Mingle, including sending location data to X-Mode. Motherboard installed another dating app, called Iran Social, on a test device and observed GPS coordinates being sent to the company. The network of apps also includes Turkey Social, Egypt Social, Colombia Social, and others focused on particular countries.X-Mode then sells access to this sort of data to a wide range of different clients. Motherboard has previously shown that one of those clients includes a private intelligence firm whose goal is to use location data to track people down to their "doorstep." X-Mode has also demonstrated how its data can be used to follow where people in COVID-19 hotspots travelled to after potentially exposing one another to the coronavirus.
"It is safe to say from this context that the reasonable consumer—who is not a tech person—would not have military uses of their data in mind, even if they read the disclosures."
"I cannot be aware X-Mode is working with military contractors if they do not clearly mention it somewhere."