Recently, there is an outcry from the public over Apple and Google for the release of an app for the Saudi government that allows men in Saudi Arabia to track and control the movement of women. Critics such as Senator Ron Wyden and human rights group have urged them to stop offering this application. The app, Absher, allows Saudi citizens to process a host of personal status issues such as obtaining a passport, birth certificate, or vehicle registration. One of the features also includes the ability for men to act as a “guardian” over women. The men can allow or disallowing women to leave the country and they can limit the dates and places women are permitted to travel. In Saudi Arabia, it is still illegal or women to travel without permission from a male guardian. Women need to obtain approval from a guardian for many decisions such as marriage, employment with private companies, certain types of health care and release from prison. In response, Tim Cook said that the company will investigate the matter.
In my opinion, it’s really disappointing to know that these tech giants such as Google and Apple make this kind of app. I’m sure they make so much so money from their products so I don’t think why they would create such a controversial app. It’s such a hypocrite how these apps are advertised as apps that “designed and developed with special consideration to security and privacy of user’s data communication” when women have no privacy over their whereabouts. I’m sure there are other apps that have a similar feature but if Apple and Google remove this app, I’m sure it will send a big message to Saudi that this is ethically wrong.
In your opinion, do you think Google and Apple should remove this app? Does removing this app help the women that live there to travel freely?