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Apple and Google: an application monitors and tracks women in Saudi Arabia


Posted: February 18, 2019
Updated: February 17, 2019

by Steve

Saudi Arabia has always had a little trouble with women’s freedom. And as Californian firms, it is quite strange that Google and Apple let the “Absher” application (literally “yes boss”) pass through their blinds. The latter makes it possible to send a notification to men supposed to “watch” over a woman, when the latter when a woman breaks the rules of the home.

In Saudi Arabia, women are legally supervised by a “guardian”, a man who can be their brother, father or husband. The “guardian” has control over her “protege”: he controls her freedom to travel, her right to medical care and can choose the person she will marry.

Saudi Arabia woman - Apple and Google: an application monitors and tracks women in Saudi Arabia

Ron Wyden, a Democratic senator from Oregon, accused the two digital giants on Monday 11 February of facilitating the repression of women in Saudi Arabia, by allowing the installation of the Absher application to be possible. “The suppression of women’s freedom in Saudi Arabia is nothing new, but American companies must not make possible or facilitate the patriarcalism of the Saudi government ”, he said in a letter to Tim cook and Sundar Pichai, the bosses of Apple and Google.

The abolition of such an application could not only indirectly grant greater freedom to Saudi women, but could above all play a decisive political role. A strong message would then be sent to the country’s authorities.