Google refuses to remove controversial 'woman tracking' app in Saudi Arabia, Apple has...

Bubbajim

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Absher is an app available via Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. The app has many features such as paying parking fines, registering a birth, or renewing a driving license. But one feature has led to an outcry from human rights campaigners – the ability for men to track and either permit or deny travelling plans made by women.

On February 21, 14 representatives from Congress wrote to both Google and Apple demanding removal of the app, alleging that “women fleeing persecution in Saudi Arabia had to defeat this application to leave the country and seek asylum.” The letter gave a deadline of February 28 to respond.

According to Business Insider, Google has now confirmed to Rep. Jackie Speier that they will not be removing the app from their Play Store, while Apple have yet to answer beyond stating that they are ‘investigating’. Google said that the app “does not violate any agreements and can therefore remain on the Google Play store.”

Under Saudi Arabia’s Sharia laws, women aren’t allowed out in public without a male guardian present, and the app works as an extension of this. Men who register their wives and children as ‘dependents’ within the Absher app can receive text message alerts when such dependents attempt to use a passport or ID card to travel. These ‘guardians’ can even set details permissions to allow single journeys, multiple journeys or none at all.

While Apple’s decision is as yet unknown, this move by Google seems to go against their usual rhetoric about their purported values and the role they want to play in society. It’s hard to see how facilitating the oppression of women fits in with Google’s old motto of ‘Don’t be evil.’

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toooooot

TS Evangelist
Somehow I agree with them not removing it. What I disagree with Google on is hypocrisy when they claim to be good. Be making money is their true slogan. And regarding *arabia* if Google removes the app, husband will load it from other places. Let them. These savages aren't ready for democracy.
 
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Nobina

TS Evangelist
Somehow I agree with them not removing it. What I disagree with Google on is hypocrisy when they claim to be good. Be making money is their true slogan. And regarding *arabia* if Google removes the app, husband will load it from other places. Let them. These savages aren't ready for democracy.
So you dislike Google for being hypocritical but app helping treat people as property is mint. The absolute state of your brain.
 

seeprime

TS Guru
In Saudi Arabia women can be beaten if not with a man when traveling, even though those restriction were loosened a bit last year. Change takes time. For the safety of women travelling alone, the app should stay, as it provides proof that the wife has "permission" to travel. While this is reprehensible to sane people everywhere, it's their reality. So, the app might help prevent some beatings by insane sharia law "police'.
 

toooooot

TS Evangelist
So you dislike Google for being hypocritical but app helping treat people as property is mint. The absolute state of your brain.
You dont know the state of my brain. How could you when even I am not sure what's going on there.
 

Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
You know, there are a few techy types within the ranks of those women .... I'm surprised we haven't heard of them finding a way to disconnect or redirect those phone apps ..... or maybe that's the best kept secret there is .... sshhhhhhhhhh ..... don't tell anyone ....
 

treetops

TS Evangelist
In Saudi Arabia women can be beaten if not with a man when traveling, even though those restriction were loosened a bit last year. Change takes time. For the safety of women travelling alone, the app should stay, as it provides proof that the wife has "permission" to travel. While this is reprehensible to sane people everywhere, it's their reality. So, the app might help prevent some beatings by insane sharia law "police'.
They should just use shock collars, definite proof they do not go out of bounds. They would not have to hire as many guards to beat them. Very economic.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07F428XH9/?tag=httpwwwtechsp-20
 
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Nobina

TS Evangelist
So how many of you Android users are going to put down your phones in protests - or refuse to buy the Galaxy 10?
I think the number is close to zero. Many companies do despicable things and to protest it I would have to go back to stone age but I think it is possible to make a change without boycotting anything but it's a slow process.
 

Dosahka

TS Addict
Their country, no matter how backwards...THEIR rules. The U.S. is scheduled to be the world producer of crude oil...pump more, bottom out the price so they can just drop. If it wasn't for the oil over there, NO ONE would give 2 cents about that pighole backwards country.
Same as for some Asian countries...they have pretty specific rules and restrictions and vast majority of ppl do not even care...their rules, their playground, but women can choose to leave and can get asylum in other countries.
 
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stonarda

TS Booster
Same as for some Asian countries...they have pretty specific rules and restrictions and vast majority of ppl do not even care...their rules, their playground, but women can choose to leave and can get asylum in other countries.
This app could be considered a weak link to enable women to leave and get asylum in other countries. I find that most of the escape stories involve taking the mobile phone of a 'guardian' and using this app to allow leaving of the country.
 

Tonia73986

TS Member
Their country, no matter how backwards...THEIR rules. The U.S. is scheduled to be the world producer of crude oil...pump more, bottom out the price so they can just drop. If it wasn't for the oil over there, NO ONE would give 2 cents about that pighole backwards country.
Same as for some Asian countries...they have pretty specific rules and restrictions and vast majority of ppl do not even care...their rules, their playground, but women can choose to leave and can get asylum in other countries.
I wouldn't say they can "choose" exactly. There are many barriers for women and homosexuals in those Middle East countries. You would most likely be "stoned" if anybody found out you are trying to leave the family (and country). I am retired USAF and a woman who was over there...I hated it because I had to work on the flightline around those "men." Felt like I was naked the entire time. It was blatantly obvious, and thank God I didn't know what they were saying because of their language being non-English. Would never volunteer to go back.
 

Danny101

TS Guru
In Saudi Arabia women can be beaten if not with a man when traveling, even though those restriction were loosened a bit last year. Change takes time. For the safety of women travelling alone, the app should stay, as it provides proof that the wife has "permission" to travel. While this is reprehensible to sane people everywhere, it's their reality. So, the app might help prevent some beatings by insane sharia law "police'.
Good point. Haven't thought of that.