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.)