Saudi Arabia Defends 'Abusive' App That Monitors Women

Published February 17th, 2019 - 10:57 GMT
Activists considered the app abusive since it allows women’s movements to be tracked by their “male guardians.” (File/photo)
Activists considered the app abusive since it allows women’s movements to be tracked by their “male guardians.” (File/photo)

By Rim ElChami

After the criticism campaign launched by rights groups and a US senator, Saudi Arabia decided to defend the mobile app that allows men to track female relatives.

The ministry of interior claimed that the Absher app provides services for “all members of the society...including women, the elderly, and people with special needs.”

However, activists considered the app abusive since it allows women’s movements to be tracked by their “male guardians.”

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In addition, US Senator Ron Wyden demanded the tech-giants, Apple and Google, to remove the free app from their stores, claiming on Twitter that it promotes “abusive practices against women.”

In response to Wyden’s demand, Apple CEO Tim Cook declared on US National Public Radio that he was unaware of the app, but he will investigate.

On the other hand, the Saudi ministry of interior described the accusations as “systematic campaign aimed at questioning the purpose of the services” and perceived it as “attempts to politicize.”

It’s worth mentioning that Saudi Arabia’s rights record is facing intense criticism since the shocking murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year.


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