Sunday, 20 October, 2019

Saudi Arabia defends mobile app allowing men to monitor women relatives

Malicious campaign against Absher aimed at disrupting 160 services Saudi Arabia defends mobile app allowing men to monitor women relatives
Patty Aguilar | 20 February, 2019, 23:54

As Breitbart News reported, according to Insider, Absher - which is available on Google's Play Storeand Apple's App Store - is "a government web service which allows men to specify when and how women can cross Saudi borders, and to get close to real-time SMS updates when they travel".

The only unlikely thing among the services offered by this app is a feature for male guardians to decide whether their dependents can travel overseas and limitations about their travel plans.

The app is being seen as yet another means employed by the government to limit women's mobility and yet again sheds light on the problematic system of discrimination.

Under Saudi law, women must have consent from their husband or immediate male relative to renew passports or to leave the country.

With the rise of complaints from critics who argue that the Absher app is a technological extension of the restrictive rules that repress many aspects of everyday living for the country's female population. But many Absher users within Saudi Arabia have come to its defense, saying it's a productivity tool that saves them hours of bureaucracy and ultimately makes travel easier for many Saudi women. "This flies in the face of the type of society you both claim to support and defend", he said. Apple CEO Tim Cook told NPR his company will "take a look at it if that's the case".

Several rights groups have called on Google and Apple to ensure Absher doesn't facilitate the abuse of women's rights, while some have called for it to be removed from their app stores.

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Now human rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as Sen.

The Absher app is designed for smart devices which aims to raise the level of service, besides harnessing its potentials to provide new value-added services, since smart applications are the future platform for implementation of e-services.

This Saudi app lets a male guardian track and detain his wife or sister.

Human rights advocates maintain, however, that while the app may do away with some bureaucracy, tech firms should determine whether it is susceptible to abuse and mitigate its risks to women.

On the other hand, the Saudi ministry of interior described the accusations as "systematic campaign aimed at questioning the objective of the services" and perceived it as "attempts to politicize".

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