Google Refuses to Scrap Saudi Govt App to Track Women

Published March 4th, 2019 - 08:09 GMT

Google is refusing to scrap a Saudi government app which lets men track and control women.

The tech giant says that software allowing men to keep tabs on women meets all of its terms and conditions.

The Absher app will remain on the Google Play store after a review found it doesn't violate any of the firm's rules.

Californian Democrat Jackie Speier joined 13 colleagues in Congress to demand the app be removed.

But the app - which lets men rescind travel permission for women - will remain online, Business Insider reports.


The app allows for guardians to state where women can go, for how long and which airports they're allowed to visit in the Islamist dictatorship.

Alerts are triggered if a woman leaves a certain area. It is one of the main reasons women have difficulty trying to flee Saudi Arabia are often get caught.

Absher tips off male guardians and the fleeing women can be apprehended whil still withint the while the fleeing women can still be apprehended.

On another page the guardian can see easily which permissions are active and change them if needed and men receive SMS alerts when women use passports.

Representative Speier and others wrote to Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Apple CEO Tim Cook on February 21 demanding the app be removed from both platforms.

The politicians gave a deadline of February 28 to explain why GooglePlay hosts the app.

Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Katherine Clark joined Speier to say that Google and Apple are 'accomplices in the oppression of Saudi Arabian women'.

Apple says it is still reviewing Absher and Senator Ron Wyden has accused them of 'stalling' and is demanding a decision. Rep Speier says that the responses from both companies are 'deeply unsatisfactory'.

It comes after Yasmine Mohammed, an ex-Muslim activist who campaigns and writes on women's rights, said Apple and Google are facilitating 'archaic misogyny.'

'What irony,' she said. 'In the West these technologies are used to improve lives and in Saudi Arabia they're used to enforce gender apartheid.'

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have expressed concern about the app which have been downloaded from the Google and Apple stores more than one millions times.


This article has been adapted from its original source.    

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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