Google, Apple Are Being Criticized For Hosting App That Tracks Saudi Women
Indira Datta - Feb 11, 2019
Apple and Google are being criticized for hosting the application that allows men in Saudi Arabia to control women's travel.
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A huge stream of public criticism is directed at Google and Apple about the existence of an application capable of tracking Saudi women. This application allows Arab men to monitor and control all traveling activities of women.
The information revealed by Insider last Friday that men can control their women's travel through the "Absher" application. Arab men using the app will receive messages whenever women use their passports at the border. They also have the rights to allow women to travel or not.
Both of the largest app stores on iOS (App Store) and Android (Google Play) platforms allow users to download this application. Therefore, the two giant tech-based guys in the United States have received a lot of criticism for facilitating human rights abuse and discriminating against women.
A women's rights activist and various organizations including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are calling on Google and Apple to consider the operation of this application. Both companies have not yet made any comments.
According to Saudi law, every woman is supposed to have a legal guardian, usually male, to manage and limit their travel.
This application is a government service, and besides controlling Arab women, it also has other functions such as paying parking fines. Absher's travel features that can control women's freedom have attracted many mixed opinions from activists.
Human Right Watch has said that allowing this application is against the rules of Google and Apple. Harassments and threats to women will be developed. Applications similar to Absher are obviously human rights violations, especially discrimination against Saudi women.
Likewise, Amnesty International also called on two tech companies to consider requesting changes to Absher in order to protect the rights of women in that region.
Not only activists and human rights organizations, but a critic in Saudi Arabia - Yasmine Mohammed also criticized the control of the applications of Google and Apple. She says these companies are helping the Saudi government enforce gender discrimination laws.