Google Won’t Pull App That Lets Men Track and Control Women

Google said that Absher does not violate any of its agreements and hence, continues to stay on Google Play Store.

Published04 Mar 2019, 03:47 AM IST
Tech News
2 min read

Google has declined to remove controversial Saudi Arabia app Absher from its Play Store, Business Insider reported. The all-purpose government app also offers features that lets men track and control the movement of women.

Google declined the removal of the app saying that it does not violate any of its agreements and hence, continues to stay on Google Play Store.

Google sent its response to Rep Jackie Speier, a California Democrat who had written to Google and Apple, demanding the removal of the app from both their app stores.

Rep Speier, along with 13 others, had written to Apple and Google to take down the app on 21 February and had given a deadline of 28 February to explain why they are still hosting the app.

Apple, according to the Business Insider report, is still said to be reviewing Absher and has not responded to a request for comment from INSIDER. In an interview with NPR last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that he will look into the issue, The Verge reported.

Absher is a highly rated app on both the stores. The app lets men keep tabs on the movement of women. They can also control their movement as the app allows them to revoke travel privileges and send SMS messages with updates about their whereabouts. It sends SMS alerts for when women use their passports. An INSIDER report explains in detail how exactly the app allows men to control the movement.

According to the INSIDER report, the Saudi law says that every woman must have a male guardian, who has substantial power over her life and travel. The government has also digitised parts of the guardian system, letting Saudi men manage women's lives online, Absher is one such example.

(With inputs from Business Insider, INSIDER and The Verge.)

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