Saudi Arabia To Soon Withdraw Wife-Tracking App ‘Absher’
Saudi Arabia is making it to the headlines for ending laws which require a woman to first take permission from a man if she wants to travel anywhere. Not only this, the government ensured that the women sought their husbands’ permission for going out through a government designed App named Absher. This App allowed men to keep track of their wives through their smartphones.
US Senator Ron Wyden wrote to Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Apple CEO Tim Cook to demand they “immediately remove” the App. Wyden said the App “flies in the face of the type of society you both claim to support and defend”
Wall Street Journal on Thursday reported that the App is being taken down by the government. The report cited that a senior official had said as to how the orders of changing the law have ‘come from the top’ and will be enacted anytime this year.
Under the guardianship system in Saudi Arabia, women can neither travel nor play sports without the permission of their male guardians. However, some of these rules are seeing a change. One of them is the travel part. The Wall Street Journal said that for now, while other parts of the system will remain, the travel part will be removed. The women can hence, travel without any restriction from their male guardians.
The Absher is a smartphone App in Saudi Arabia which allows the citizen and residents of Saudi Arabia to use a variety of government services. Not only this, it can also be used for various other purposes like jobs, reporting electronic crimes etc. The App provides overall 160 services to the people of Saudi. However, the App also allows men to keep a track of women they control, as a part of the male guardianship system.
The App led to an investigation by Google and Apple after Bussiness Insider exposed it of violating human rights. The Saudi Government then tried to defend its services. “The Ministry strongly condemns the systematic campaign aimed at questioning the purpose of (Abshar) services,” the statement said.
The government ensured that the women sought their husbands’ permission for going out through a government designed App named Absher. This App allowed men to keep track of their wives through their smartphones.
The App was designed in such a way that as soon as a woman enters an airport or travels through boundaries, her male guardian will be immediately informed. This led to restrictions on women’s travel and other activities. Many human rights activists raised their voices against the App which the government was seemingly defending human rights organisation Amnesty International too condemned the App. According to the Business Insider, US Senator Ron Wyden wrote to Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Apple CEO Tim Cook to demand they “immediately remove” the app. Wyden said the app “flies in the face of the type of society you both claim to support and defend.”