Sunday, 25 August, 2019

Apple takes heat over Saudi app that tracks women

Enlarge this image Enlarge this image
Ginger Lawrence | 14 February, 2019, 08:53

"By permitting the app in your respective stores, your companies are making it easier for Saudi men to control their family members from the convenience of their smartphones to restrict their movements", Wyden wrote Monday to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

Cook was asked about the app by National Public Radio.

Neither Apple nor Google were immediately available for comment.

The app, which offers access to government services, has been criticised by human rights groups.

But it also tracks women, particularly wives, sisters and daughters, on whether they're leaving the country and it allows restrictions on when they can leave on certain dates.

That's a pretty big deal, given that women in Saudi Arabia live under a patriarchal "guardanship" system which requires them to be a legal dependent of a man-and get that man's permission to attend school, manage their work and finances, marry, and travel overseas or in public.

When Cook was asked about Absher in an interview with NPR Monday, he said, "I haven't heard about it". "But obviously we'll take a look at it if that's the case". Ron Wyden of Oregon. He said the app "flies in the face of the type of society you both claim to support and defend".

"It is hardly news that the Saudi monarchy seeks to restrict and repress Saudi women, but American companies should not enable or facilitate the Saudi government's patriarchy", the letter read. Google has not acknowledged repeated requests for comment. Begum says some women have managed to secretly change the settings in the app on their male guardian's phone so that it allows them to travel.

Juan Foyth and Lucas Moura Start - Tottenham Hotspur Team vs Dortmund Confirmed
Always, when you play a very good side like Dortmund , it is hard and there is still lots of work to do'. "We knew very well that he was capable of doing what he's doing now, with game time ".

On Google Play, Absher has been downloaded more than a million times and has a rating of 4.6.

Sen. Wyden wrote his letter in response to two reports by INSIDER on Absher.

A wide-ranging feature in Business Insider, published in early February, documented a young Saudi woman named Shahad al-Mohaimeed's escape from her abusive family in 2017.

Awareness surrounding the existence of Absher has led to calls from both human rights groups and politicians to remove it entirely from the app store. For example, according to Human Rights Watch, women have always needed permission from a male guardian, usually a father or husband, to leave the country.

The resulting impact on freedom of movement has been corroborated in the article by multiple activists and experts on the Middle East and human rights.

Apple and Google have different systems for flagging inappropriate apps.

Saudi Arabia's human rights record has been under heavy scrutiny since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi late a year ago.

Saudi Arabia, one of the world's most gender-segregated nations, is ranked 138 of 144 states in the 2017 Global Gender Gap, a World Economic Forum study on how women fare in economic and political participation, health and education.