Ever wondered why apps that don't need your location still want permission to get your location? It's likely because the app was built with a "free" toolkit that was made by a company that harvests and sells your location data.

One such company is X-Mode, whose first product was an app that was supposed to stop you from making phone calls while drunk. They pivoted to mass location surveillance, providing developer tools to many app creators, from MP3 converters to the beauty app Perfect365.


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Who buys X-Mode's data? Creepy corporate spies. HYAS is a "threat intelligence" co that boasts that if you think your company is being hacked or defrauded by someone on the internet, they can give you that person's home address.

As Joseph Cox writes for Motherboard, the locational data that's nonconsensually harvested from your phone is usually billed as being sold to marketing firms for aggregate analysis ("30% of the foot-traffic here comes from single mothers").


But a now-deleted material from HYAS's website reveals that this data is also available for anyone willing to pay to to stalk individual persons.

HYAS's customers aren't just corporations: they also boast of working with law-enforcement. There have been a rash of stories about cops engaging in mass surveillance, bypassing the warrant process by spending tax dollars for commercial data.


X-Mode says its location tracking code has been embedded in 400 apps and that it harvests location data from 60m people/month.

You can discover this only if you read the sprawling garbage novellas of legalese that come with those apps, which no one, anywhere, does.

"The first threat intelligence source added, describing HYAS' use of mobile location data, 'It's shady as fuck.'" -Joseph Cox, Motherboard


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