X-Mode Social is a company that works by giving developers code called SDK, to put into their apps, that tracks users’ location and then sends the data to X-Mode, which sells it. This means that X-Mode’s code may be in some of your phones too, tracking and selling your location data. Tech companies Google and Apple are trying to put an end to this practice by asking developers to remove X-Mode’s code from their apps, or they would get their apps taken down from the respective app stores.
According to X-Mode, its technology exists in over 400 apps. Apple has given a 2 weeks period to developers to comply with the order, while Google has given a deadline of one week and is also allowing a 30 days extension along with it.
While the data tracking and selling practice isn’t something new, the reason why X-Mode is in the spotlight is particularly because many of the apps using X-Mode’s code are designed for the Muslim population, such as one that reminds users when to pray, and a Muslim-focused dating app. X-Mode, on its part, is claiming that it just collects similar mobile app data as most advertising SDKs.
One advantage to users in this situation is that X-Mode and other companies like it, gain access to location data only if a user gives them the permission for it. Therefore, it is worth thinking about whether or not to give your location data when an app asks for it. However, this can’t be done for apps where giving location data is necessary, such as in dating apps. This is why it is good to see that companies like Google and Apple, as well as some lawmakers have started to acknowledge this issue and are taking serious action against it.