Why is Absher available on the UK App store?

NPR headline: “Apple, Google Criticized For Carrying App That Lets Saudi Men Track Their Wives”.

An app that allows Saudi men to track the whereabouts of their wives and daughters is available in the Apple and Google app stores in Saudi Arabia.

But the U.S. tech giants are getting blowback from human rights activists and lawmakers for carrying the app.

The app, called Absher, was created by the National Information Center, which according to a Saudi government website is a project of the Saudi Ministry of Interior.

The description of the app in both stores says that with Absher, “you can safely browse your profile or your family members, or [laborers] working for you, and perform a wide range of eServices online.”

In Saudi Arabia, women’s lives are highly restricted. 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. In the past, paper forms were required prior to travel.

So why is this noxious app freely available on the Apple App store in the UK? (This morning I checked to see if it was — and it is.)

What Trump really wants

Nice NYT column by Paul Krugman, largely about why autocrats can deal with Trump but countries with an old-fashioned attachment to the rule of law cannot:

Trade conflict is essentially Trump’s personal vendetta — one that he is able to pursue because U.S. international trade law gives the president enormous discretion to impose tariffs on a variety of grounds. Predicting trade policy is therefore about figuring out what’s going on in one man’s mind.

Now, there are real reasons for the U.S. to be angry at China, and demand policy changes. Above all, China notoriously violates the spirit of international trade rules, de facto restricting foreign companies’ access to its market unless they hand over valuable technology. So you could make a case for U.S. pressure on China — coordinated with other advanced economies! — to stop that practice.

But there has been little evidence that Trump is interested in dealing with the real China problem. I was at a trade policy conference over the weekend where experts were asked what Trump really wants; the most popular answer was “tweetable deliveries.”

Lovely phrase that: tweetable deliveries.