International

Apple and Google Urged to Remove Saudi App ‘Absher’ for Tracking Women

Apple and Google Urged to Remove Saudi App ‘Absher’ for Tracking Women

 

Human rights defenders have been urging Apple and Google to remove the Saudi government app ‘Absher’ from its platforms, over claims that it “enables abhorrent surveillance and control of women.”

The reaction came after an investigative report by INSIDER which reported that Absher allows men to control where women travel outside the Kingdom, and set up SMS alerts for when women use their passports at the border.

In a letter sent to the tech giants on Monday, Senator Ron Wyden  requested for them to prevent their app stores from being used by the Saudi government to continue the “abhorrent surveillance and control of women.”

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, told National Public Radio on Monday: “I haven’t heard about it. But obviously we’ll take a look at it if that’s the case.”

Google also told CNN they were “looking into it,” but did not have definite claims to share at the moment.

On the other hand, the Saudi Interior Ministry defended the app in a press statement via the official Saudi Press Agency on Saturday.

“The Ministry strongly condemns the systematic campaign aimed at questioning the purpose of (Abshar) services,” the statement said.

“These allegations aim to disable the benefits of more than 160 different procedural services to all members of the society provided by the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabian to the citizens and residents, including women, the elderly, and people with special needs.”

“The application represents electronic government services as an essential and direct means for the beneficiaries to access to the services at any time and from anywhere.”

According to Arab News, the e-services app is “regarded as the leading government platform for Saudi citizens, freeing them from bureaucratic inefficiency and endless queuing for everyday services.”

The app makes electronic government services available for beneficiaries to access and to allow residents of the Kingdom to make appointments, renew IDs, passports, driver’s licenses, car registration and other services with one click.

Muna Abu Sulayman, an award-winning strategy adviser and media personality, told Arab News that “the discussion on the guardianship law is internal and ongoing — it is something that has to be decided by our society and not as a result of outside pressure. We’re making strides toward equality and Absher is a step in the right direction.”

 

 

Photojournalist Shawkan's Release Procedures Supposedly Underway
Egyptian Parliament Member Encourages Egyptian Students in Sudan to Come Back Home

Subscribe to our newsletter


International

More in International

Nicki No More, Minaj Cancels Saudi Performance

Egyptian StreetsJuly 10, 2019

Christie’s Tutankhamun Head Fetches £4.7m Despite Egypt Officials’ Outrage

Egyptian StreetsJuly 5, 2019

Nicki Minaj to Perform at Jeddah Music Festival

Egyptian StreetsJuly 3, 2019

West African Nations Choose New Single Currency ‘ECO’

Egyptian StreetsJuly 1, 2019

Sudanese Protests March a “One Million Man March” Demanding the Fall of TMC

Nour EltiganiJune 30, 2019

Egypt’s Sisi Meets World Leaders at G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan

Egyptian StreetsJune 29, 2019

Palestine Calls New US Economic Plan “Second Balfour Declaration”

Egyptian StreetsJune 23, 2019

Four Teenagers Spared Detention After Attack On Egyptian Student in 2018

Egyptian StreetsJune 21, 2019
Egyptian Streets is an independent, young, and grass roots news media organization aimed at providing readers with an alternate depiction of events that occur on Egyptian and Middle Eastern streets, and to establish an engaging social platform for readers to discover and discuss the various issues that impact the region.

© 2017 Egyptian Streets. All Rights Reserved.