Google, Apple maintain app tracking Saudi women despite mounting pressure

07 March, 2019, 04:03 | Author: Patty Hardy
  • Google has rejected calls to take down a controversial Saudi app that allows men to track women's movements

In the letter, the lawmakers wrote that Apple and Google are both "accomplices in the oppression of Saudi Arabian women" because they hosted the app on their mobile platforms.

According to the INSIDER report, the Saudi law says that every woman must have a male guardian, who has substantial power over her life and travel.

Absher allows husbands to limit the number of times a woman can leave the country, how long she can travel for and even prevent her from leaving by sending a notification if the woman's passport has been scanned at the airport.

At the conclusion of Google's investigation, the company told the office of Congresswoman Jackie Speier, one of the letter's signatories, that the investigation concluded the app doesn't violate any agreements.

Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of MI joined their California colleague to ask Apple and Google to remove the app.

Absher is now available on both Apple and Google's app stores. Following the publication of the report, human rights groups, for example, Amnesty International have reprimanded the two organizations for hosting the application.

In addition to enabling users to carry out tasks like renewing their driving licence, it also asks men to list dependent women.

Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar D-Minn. and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan
Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar D-Minn. and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan

Late yesterday Business Insider reported that Google has officially declined to remove from the Saudi government app from its app store.

However, the same app also allows men to control when and where women are allowed to travel and approve/revoke their travel permissions for specific destinations.

A few weeks ago, the existence of an app called 'Absher,' used by Saudi Arab men to control and track the movements of women in the country, came into light.

In Saudi Arabia, opinion about Absher is divided.

"The ingenuity of American technology companies should not be perverted to violate the human rights of Saudi women".

Meanwhile, Apple is still reviewing Absher and Rep. Speier told the publication that the responses by both the tech giants are "deeply unsatisfactory".

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