Apple, Google slammed for hosting Saudi woman-tracking app

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San Francisco, Feb 09. Apple and Google are facing criticism
from human rights activists for hosting an app that allows men in Saudi Arabia
to track and control women’s movements. According to a report in Insider on
Friday, the app called “Absher” lets men to give women
permission to travel, and also get SMS when a woman uses her passport at the
border.

For making the apps available on Google Play and Apple’s App Store, the
US-based tech giants have been accused of facilitating misogyny and helping
enforce gender apartheid“.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and a women’s rights
activist urged Apple and Google should reconsider hosting the app, Insider
reported, adding that the two tech giants did not respond to its requests for
comment.

Under Saudi law, it is essential for women to have a legal
“guardian” who can restrict her travel.

While Absher – a government service – offers other functions like
paying parking fines, its travel features have been targeted by activists as it
makes it difficult for women to leave Saudi Arabia.

“Apple and
Google have rules against apps that facilitate threats and harassment,”
Human Rights Watch was quoted as saying.

“Apps like
this one can facilitate human rights abuses, including discrimination against
women.”

Amnesty International called on Apple and Google to demand changes to
the app so that it can be stopped for being used to harm women.

Yasmine Mohammed, a critic of Saudi Arabia, told Insider that the
companies are “facilitating the most archaic misogyny” and help the
Saudi government to enforce “gender apartheid”.

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