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.