The World Is Angry At ‘Abhsher,’ The Women Tracking App In Saudi Arabia But Saudi People Are Telling Another Story

By Biya Haq | 6 Mar, 2019

Nope, no thank you, never, bye.

With sight of stonings and extreme punishments for basically equality, Saudi Arabia is not quite in my top five places to visit around the world.

With regards to women, specifically, the Kingdom knows and exercises little to no basic human rights and friends, we think we just found the most disgusting use of that fact.

Absher, an app recently created and used in Saudi Arabia, aids men in tracking the women in their lives, without their consent and it’s proving very controversial

Source: Albawaba

Yup, ironic isn’t it? The technology of the future digitizing the barbaric nature of the past. So great for women everywhere. Love it.

The Government issued online service, allows male guardians (only male) to monitor the actions of ‘their’ women. The app contains a log of all the women in Saudi Arabia and can bar them travelling outside of the country and more specifically, can make sure that they do not leave without permission.

The app also gives more invasive accessibility to male guardians such as banning women from specific countries, destinations even airports and notifying them when their passports are being used with just a few buttons. Their permission is completely in their discretion and may use it at will.

All the guardians have to do is list out the women in their family and literally, that is all.

Source: businessinsider.com

The Men then have access to all the information they could want regarding the women in their home. We tried downloading the app but a Government issued ID was needed in order to access it.

Source: businessinsider.com

Absher was most recently in the news after Google refused to take it down following criticism that the app violated women’s rights

The excuse that the multi-million dollar company used was that the app did not violate any of the policies set by Google Play. This was quite shocking seeing as to how progressive and innovative the tech giant is. However, the company took the stance that the app aided many in being able to use it for day to day necessities such as paying for parking tickets or paying bills.

After much criticism and backlash from human rights associations around the world, Google has not yet removed the app nor said anything against their previous statement. Apple, on the other hand, has not given a single statement, considering the app lives on the Apple Store as well, this should be anticipated.

The app is clearly a violation of basic and fundamental human rights. It is unethical and unreasonable that a man or woman, for that fact, has the ability and technological capability to track and administer the travels or actions of their significant other or children.

 

The conversation on the app has picked up on social media and most people have been in shock that such an app exists, with its ability to treat women as objects of their male family members

 

However surprisingly, many citizens of Saudi Arabia have been in favor of the app and are condemning the hate.

 

However, this is the Internet so quite honestly, we don’t know if these opinions truly reflect those of the women in Saudi Arabia.^

According to Insider, a look at the service showed how the insanely invasive app was the only thing that could one desperate Saudi Woman escape from her controlling and abusive male guardian.

Shahad al-Mohaimeed used the information in the app and it’s tracking device to slow down her family from chasing after her she took her family’s devices.

Source: businessinsider.com

According to the article, an average of 1,000 women try and flee Saudi Arabia each year. Services like Absher make their plans hard but in turn, since they are the strongest tools at their disposal, removal of them are an aid to this as well. Even if the women in Saudi were okay with their information and lives being so readily accessible, the app is a violation of basic human rights.

If their security fell in the hands of people not as well-intentioned as true parental guardians, the results could be disastrous and it would be solely the fault of the creators and perpetrators of this service.

It is 2019 and if a woman wants to leave the country, she should be fucking able to do it without a man telling her she needs his permission first.

 

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Cover photo source: Albwaba/Bloomberg

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