The Women Tracking Application, which allows men from Saudi Arabia to track their women, has been approved in Apple and Google stores and has been downloaded over a million times
- Apple and Google are accused of helping "enforce gender apartheid"
- The iTunes and Google Play shops simply host the Absher application run by the Saudi government that follows the women and stops them from leaving the country
- Absher allows men in Saudi Arabia to follow and control the journey of women
- According to Saudi law, every woman has a legal "guardian" who can limit her travel to specific airports and routes, receiving alerts when crossing borders
James Gordon For Dailymail.com
Apple and Google are accused of helping "enforce gender apartheid" in Saudi Arabia by offering an application on their platforms that allows men to trace women and prevent their departure from the country.
Absher is available in Google Play and iTunes and is an application developed by the Saudi government, which allows men to determine when and how women can cross the borders of the Saudi Republic – and even warn them if they do so.
Activists and refugees have discovered the Absher journey, which they have expressed as a major factor in the further troubles of women who have left Saudi Arabia.
The iTunes and Google Play shops simply host the Absher application run by the Saudi government that follows the women and stops them from leaving the country
The Absher application is managed by the Saudi government and has been transferred so far to more than a million times
The application allows administrators to indicate where women can go, how long and at what airports they can go.
Warnings are triggered if a woman leaves a certain area. This is one of the main reasons why women find it hard to escape from Saudi Arabia and often catch them.
Absher hints at male guardians, and women who are fleeing can be caught as long as women are still caught.
On the other hand, the administrator can easily see which permissions are active and, if necessary, change them.
Absher allows men in Saudi Arabia to follow and control the journey of women
According to Saudi law, every woman has a legal "guardian" who can limit her travel to specific airports and routes, receiving alerts when crossing borders
Yasmine Mohammed, a former Muslim activist who campaigns and writes about women's rights, said the tragedy was how Apple and Google eased "archaic misogyny".
What an irony. In the West, these technologies are used to improve life, and in Saudi Arabia they are used to promote sexual apartheid.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have expressed concern about the app that has been downloaded from Google and Apple stores over a million times.
"Apple and Google have rules against threats and harassment applications. Applications like this can ease human rights abuses, including discrimination against women, "said Rothna Begum, a Middle East researcher for Human Rights Watch.
"When assessing whether an application should be allowed, application providers should consider the wider context of the application's purpose, how it is used in practice, and whether it alleviates serious misconduct. Companies should use additional reviews in particular for government-run applications.
"Although the application is of more general significance, the government can simply remove the administrator tracking function from the application and continue to offer the remaining functionality."
Similarly, Dana Ahmed, Saudi Arabia's researcher for Amnesty International, also condemned the application saying that "SMS alerts" are another example of how the Saudi Arabian government has developed tools to limit the freedoms of women.
"Tracking women in this way shortens their movements and reaffirms the anxious system of discrimination under the laws of custody".
The human rights organization called Apple and Google to accept that the application is used to harm women, and require changes in order to prevent this from happening in the future.
Apple and Google have not commented yet.