17 December 2020, 10:30AM
Assalamualaikum, Muslim Pro community.
Almost a month has passed since a news article raised concerns over how a 3rd party vendor had handled our data.
The Muslim Pro app remains available for download on both Apple’s App Store and Google’s Google Play store.
This is the first time we’ve had to face such a serious issue and we responded immediately because we care deeply about you, our user, who make up the Muslim Pro community.
If this is the first time you’re reading our public statement that we had issued on 17 Nov 2020 when the article first appeared, here are the main points:
- Muslim Pro did not give your data to the US military. We’ve never done that, and never will. To ensure that your personal data remains safe with us, we also ended all partnerships with our data partners to close off possible vulnerabilities.
- Muslim Pro has never provided any third party with non-anonymous data. This means that none of our former data vendor has ever received personal information like names or email addresses.
Before we talk about the steps we’ve taken since then, we want to tell you a little bit about us.
Muslim Pro is made up of people just like you. We started Muslim Pro because many people in our company were frustrated at not being able to find fasting times easily. We used to rely on printed timetables or calling family and friends to remind us. That gave us the idea of creating an app that not only provided fasting times during Ramadan but also prayer times all year long.
We were and still are a small team, so it was an unexpected blessing that the app was so well received. We saw a big spike in app usage during the Covid-19 pandemic period, so we knew it was helping people keep their faith. We relish the challenge of serving millions of users daily, making sure the app runs as smoothly on low end devices with challenging network conditions, as it does on high-end devices, we’re also passionate about finding ways to make it better. We help millions of Muslims around the world. Through Muslim Pro, you can read and listen to the Quran, get accurate prayer times, always get the right direction to Mecca and increase their daily supplications. Thanks to you, our user, we’ve built a great community. We believe in what we are doing.
However, we also know that our responsibility has grown, even as our user numbers have grown. We know that, just like us, people using our technology want to feel safe and they want to know what happens to their data. We don’t want people to be fearful about who might be using information and what they are doing with it.
Therefore, we continue to focus on earning your trust every day, and we’re committed to getting it right. This is what we are doing:
- As part of the internal investigation we are conducting, we worked with independent ethical hackers and researchers to confirm that we have deleted third party software that allows it to collect certain information in our app and are no longer sending data to our previous data partners. We hope this will give our current users some peace of mind that we are taking this matter seriously.
- We have been open and transparent with all relevant data privacy authorities in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia who, understandably, had questions. In Malaysia, the Department of Personal Data Protection (PDPD) contacted our DPO (Personal Data Protection Officer) via email on 17 November 2020 as soon as the Department was informed of the news article. After our clarification, the department released a press statement that it had taken note of our explanation. We have similarly given a detailed explanation to Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Commission and Indonesia’s Directorate of Informatics Applications Control (KOMINFO).
- We continue to secure our data in full compliance with all relevant laws and regulations and implement a strict data governance policy to ensure that our users’ data is always protected. We work with a selected range of third parties in the industry including social media (Facebook), analytics (Google) and advertising partners who generally help improve our product and services and this is all done with the consent of our users.
We trust this update assures you that we are taking all the necessary steps to make our app secure for you. Please continue to watch this space for our regular updates.
“So be patient. Indeed, the promise of Allah is truth. And let them not disquiet you who are not certain [in faith].”
-Surah Ar-Rum: Verse 60 (Saheeh International Translation)
20 November 2020, 5:11PM
Assalamualaikum, Muslim Pro community. Over the last few days and in the face of unsubstantiated allegations, Muslim Pro has been subject to a shameless and blatant perversion of the truth that has created an unprecedented emotion in our community of users. Muslim Pro is currently working with the relevant stakeholders and authorities to transparently establish the facts surrounding these allegations that are shedding an undeserved negative light on us and our community. Committed to the highest level of integrity, Muslim Pro has always abided by this principle and is confident that this will be obvious to everyone soon - given that:
- We have never provided any third party with non-anonymous data; and
- X- Mode Social, Inc. confirmed to us on 17 November 2020 that X- Mode Social, Inc. had ceased to work with both Sierra Nevada Corporation and Systems & Technology Research (i.e. the companies which media reports have described as US Military contractors), long before Muslim Pro enrolled X- Mode Social, Inc. as a data partner.
To further clear all doubts and get to the bottom of the issue, Muslim Pro today announces the formal launch of a full investigation into the relevant parties involved, with the support of our lawyers, to get proper answers to the questions Muslim Pro and our users might still have. We will take any necessary action if we discover that our trust and that of our users have been abused. We are confident that the truth will emerge, and the record will ultimately be set straight.
We apologize to our millions of users for the distress caused. We are committed to fully ensuring all the safeguards are in place so that our users continue to benefit from Muslim Pro’s high quality and secured service. Muslim Pro was developed to help millions of Muslims across the globe practice their faith and has been diligently doing so for the past 10 years. As such, Muslim Pro has become an integral part of the daily lives of countless Muslims the world over. This means a lot to us, and we will continue to be on the side of our users - as we have always been. Our sole mission and focus will remain on delivering a service that helps Muslims worldwide practice their faith safely.
“Allah will not call you to account for thoughtlessness in your oaths, but for the intention in your hearts; and He is Oft-forgiving, Most Forbearing”
- Al-Baqara: Verse 225 (Yusuf Ali Translation)
19 November 2020, 4:33PM
1. What data does Muslim Pro collect and why do you need it?
We collect, process, and use information that users provide or make available to us when accessing our app and services such as information you enter and information relating to the use of the app. We use the information provided to improve our service and to support further research and development of the app.
This may include analyzing data to better understand user behaviours, and in turn to improve the overall functionality of the service. Location data is used for prayer times calculation, Qibla and other features. It also aids in planning and designing features, as well as improving the overall user experience.
We are fully committed to respect and protect our users’ privacy in compliance with global data privacy laws and regulations such as GDPR and CCPA. We have always applied industry-standard security measures to ensure all data is handled safely and securely because the trust of millions of brothers and sisters of the Ummah put in Muslim Pro every day means everything to us.
2. Why do you need to share data with partners?
Developing a quality religious app takes just as much time and resources as any other app. We need to collaborate with selected technology partners as part of our continuous effort to offer a high level of service for our users and to improve the quality of our app.
For apps like Muslim Pro, data is shared with partners for common purposes such as advertising, which is the main source of revenue for us in order to keep most of the app features free for our users. We do this in full compliance with all relevant laws and regulations and implement strict data governance policy to ensure that our users’ data is always protected.
3. Do you share any personal data with partners?
We do not under any circumstance share any of our users’ sensitive personal information such as name, phone number, or email. Any data shared with partners is anonymised, which means that our data is not attributed to any particular individuals.
4. Who are the third parties that you share data with?
We work with a selected range of third-parties in the industry including social media, data analytics and advertising partners who generally help improve our product and services - all done with the consent of our users.
5. Is my data safe with Muslim Pro?
Yes. We are fully committed to respecting and protecting our users’ privacy in compliance with global data privacy laws and regulations such as GDPR and CCPA.
We have always applied industry-standard security measures to ensure all data is handled safely and securely because the trust of millions of brothers and sisters of the Ummah put in Muslim Pro every day means everything to us.
We will continue to ensure data safety and security including through audits by independent third party experts.
17 November 2020, 11:00PM
Media reports are circulating that Muslim Pro has been selling personal data of its users to the US Military. This is INCORRECT and UNTRUE.
Muslim Pro is committed to protecting and securing our users’ privacy. This is a matter we take very seriously.
We apply industry-standard security arrangements and protective measures and select leading technology partners to keep our data safe and secure on our cloud infrastructure. We have also been open and transparent about the personal information we collect, store and process because the trust of millions of brothers and sisters of the Ummah put in Muslim Pro every day means everything to us.
Also to note, that apart from our Community section, every single feature of the Muslim Pro app is available without signing up or logging in. This contributes to the anonymity of data we collect and process.
In our efforts to better serve our users and help businesses enhance their product and service offerings, we shared anonymized data with selected technology partners who are required to comply with global laws and regulations around data privacy protection. Since we were made aware of the situation, we have launched an internal investigation and are reviewing our data governance policy to confirm that all user data was handled in line with all existing requirements.
Regardless, we have decided to terminate our relationships with all data partners, including X-Mode, effective immediately.
We are committed to helping the Muslim community practice their faith. Our comprehensive Islamic mobile application, reaches almost 100 million users across more than 216 countries worldwide. We apologize to all our users for the concern that these reports have caused them and we can confirm that your data is secure with us.
We value the importance of practicing one’s faith as well as our users’ privacy and will do everything we can to ensure we deliver on this promise.
- From the Muslim Pro Team