Apple and Google have reportedly ordered app developers to sever ties with X-Mode Social Inc., a data broker specializing in location tracking. As the the Wall Street newspaper reports, the company provided data to U.S. government contractors working on national security and pandemic issues. X-Mode has other clients, but its ties to politics have forced Apple and Google to act. Android app developers had seven days to remove the SDK from X-Mode, although some may request an extension of up to 30 days. Apple, meanwhile, gave its own community two weeks to make the switch. If the developers don’t comply, they risk being removed from the App Store and Google Play Store.
According to Newspaper, Apple and Google shared their decision with Ronald Lee Wyden, a U.S. senator who is currently investigating how location data is sold to political forces. X-Mode isn’t the only company that wants to get and sell location data. The Virginia-based organization has been highlighted in several media reports, however, published by the Newspaper and Vice motherboard. The latter found that many seemingly innocent apps were using X-Mode’s SDK, including Muslim Pro, an app that alerts users when it’s time to pray, and Muslim Mingle, a dating app.