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Apple and Google host an app that helps Saudi men track their women

Oct 25, 2017
3,700
Sweden
#1
Androidpolice said:
Technology is supposed to make life easier, but that's not always the case. For women living in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, smartphones have made it harder to escape from abusive families and a social system that restricts their choices. Now, activists including Human Rights Watch are calling on Google and Apple to pull an app published by the Saudi government that helps men keep track of women and prevent them from leaving the country.
https://www.androidpolice.com/2019/...ire-for-hosting-saudi-app-for-tracking-women/

Disgusting. They should both pull the app.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,965
#6
Not surprised, I knew Male guardians could update the different authorization and permits via the internet so I guess it makes sense there is an app for it.
 
Jun 17, 2018
198
#7
Using the app, guardians can register dependent women, grant travel privileges, and blacklist certain destinations or airports. Crucially, if a woman deviates from her approved travel profile, the guardian gets an alert on his phone. Saudi women attempting to leave the country have started devising ways to steal their guardian's phone or reset the Absher password to give themselves travel authorization.
Before Absher, women had to present a form to airport staff. Activists say Absher is one of the main reasons women are caught trying to leave the country for sanctuary elsewhere
Jesus fucking Christ.
 

BeforeU

Banned for use of alt account
Banned
Oct 30, 2017
1,933
#9
it sucks but not sure if stopping this particular app will solve the fundamental problem
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,282
Edmonton
#14
Darn, I wanted to see what sort of options there were available in the app but I can't log in or see what kinds of 'civil appointments' there are available. You need a government username/ID and password and hilariously the forgot password link sends you to a youtube video with the comments disabled.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,754
#15
Using the app, guardians can register dependent women, grant travel privileges, and blacklist certain destinations or airports. Crucially, if a woman deviates from her approved travel profile, the guardian gets an alert on his phone. Saudi women attempting to leave the country have started devising ways to steal their guardian's phone or reset the Absher password to give themselves travel authorization.
Dude.

Holy fucking shit that is pure evil.

Slavery with wifi.
 

Cas

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
3,183
#20
Gotta keep those slaves in line! Google and apple should be ashamed for hosting such a disgusting tool used to deny women rights.
 
Oct 27, 2017
12,012
#23
While I think this might eventually be moved, it annoys me that they clearly don't care about these kinds of apps because it always takes outcry to remove what should be obvious fucking TOS/ethics violations
 
Dec 12, 2018
460
UK
#24
How does this not break some kind of TOS? I hope it gets removed quick, but it shouldn't need a public outcry for that to happen. Apple and Google allowing this is pretty appalling.
 
Oct 27, 2017
3,200
Vice City
#26
holy fuck that's disgusting, both platforms need to be taken to task for hosting this

it sucks but not sure if stopping this particular app will solve the fundamental problem
it won't, but this is further enabling that - we're not fixing that mess soon but we can at least stop aiding & profiting from it
 
Oct 25, 2017
41
#28
This app is not about tracking women or anything like that, it’s civil affairs app that allow you to access your civil personal informations in order to issue or renew stuff like passport, driver license.... etc, there is nothing in it that allow you to track someone or anyone you know in it. Besides this app have been in the App Store for few years.

I say this because I’m Saudi and I use this app quite often.
 
Aug 6, 2018
3,287
#29
This app is not about tracking women or anything like that, it’s civil affairs app that allow you to access your civil personal informations in order to issue or renew stuff like passport, driver license.... etc, there is nothing in it that allow you to track someone or anyone you know in it. Besides this app have been in the App Store for few years.

I say this because I’m Saudi and I use this app quite often.
Did you read the article? Is its description inaccurate?
 

cameron

The Fallen
Oct 26, 2017
5,858
#32
Bit from Business Insider: Saudi Arabia runs a huge, sinister online database of women that men use to track them and stop them from running away
The Absher system — little-discussed in Western media — contains a log of women in Saudi Arabia and the means to bar them from travel or catch them trying to leave without permission.
Many of Absher's functions are benign and would not be out of place in any local or national government online portal. You can use it to pay parking fines or renew a driver's license.
Vitally, Saudi men can also use this site to specify when and where women are allowed to fly out of the country and grant or revoke travel permission with a few clicks, rendering specific airports or destinations off-limits.
Men can also enable an automatic SMS feature, which texts them when a woman uses her passport at a border crossing or airport check-in.
The reason al-Mohaimeed waited for the vacation in Turkey is that she would have little chance of escaping from within Saudi Arabia, where borders are integrated with the Absher alert system.
Any attempt to leave would be blocked as soon as her passport was checked at an airport. Even if she were to make it out, she would leave a digital trail making her easy to find.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,303
#34
Wait, what? Now I'm confused.
It sounds like the app is being used maliciously vs the app being made specifically to track Women. For example, the article mentions guardians granting/allowing permissions and privileges. This isn't something out of the ordinary when you think of a parent/child relationship and a parent preventing a child from accessing certain things, but becomes problematic when the guardian is an abusive father or spouse.

Rothna Begum, Middle East researcher for Human Rights Watch:

"Apple and Google have rules against apps that facilitate threats and harassment. Apps like this one can facilitate human rights abuses, including discrimination against women."

"In evaluating whether an app should be allowed, app store providers should be considering the broader context of the purpose of the app, how it is used in practice, and whether it facilitates serious abuses. Companies should apply extra scrutiny to government-operated apps in particular."

"Even though the app is more general purpose, the government could simply remove the guardianship tracking functionality from the app, and continue to offer the rest of the functionality. (In other words, we wouldn't say that governments shouldn't be able to offer government services through mobile apps, just not services that facilitate abuses.)"
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,999
#35
I have no idea how much of this app is intentional but smart devices and IoT devices are commonly used by abusers to keep tabs on those they abuse.
 
Nov 2, 2017
1,898
#36
https://www.theverge.com/2019/2/13/...oogle-apple-saudi-arabia-track-women-tim-cook

Update:
Tim Cook says Apple will investigate app that lets Saudi men track and control women


Apple CEO Tim Cook has said the company will look into an app that can be used to track and limit the travel freedom of women in Saudi Arabia. “I haven’t heard about it,” the CEO said in an interview with NPR. “But obviously we’ll take a look at it if that’s the case.” In addition to accessing government services such as applying for passports or birth certificates, Insider discovered that the Absher app, also available in the Google Play store, allows male Saudi guardians to list “dependents” by name and passport number and then limit their ability to travel.

Apple and Google have been criticised for hosting the Absher app by human rights groups for facilitating human rights abuses. In comments provided to the Washington Post, Amnesty International said that the app highlights the “disturbing system of discrimination” in the country, while a spokesperson from Human Rights Watch joined their call for Apple and Google to investigate the app.

The app highlights a “disturbing system of discrimination”

Democratic Senator Ron Wyden went a step further in an open letter to Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and called for them to remove the app entirely from their app stores.
Good to see Apple and the US government taking action against this horrid app.
 
Oct 25, 2017
6,068
#38
If not this app, are there not other ways for abusive men to do this? seems like a convenient side effect rather than the clickbaity title that implies the app is specifically designed to track women.

Actually, i see the app was published by saudi government, so I dont doubt that tracking women was a built in feature now.