Published: 2019-02-17 12:09
Last Updated: 2019-02-17 12:37
Saudi Arabia defended the controversial mobile app service that allows men in the Kingdom to track female relatives.
The Absher app provides services for “all members of the society… including women, the elderly, and people with special needs,” the Saudi Interior Ministry said.
The app allows users to renew passports, visas and facilitates a variety of other electronic services. However, critics said the app enables abuse against women and girls by allowing men to track their movements.
Apple CEO Tim Cook told US National Public Radio earlier this week he had not heard of the app, but would “take a look at it.”
US Senator Ron Wyden has called on both Apple and Google to remove the app, arguing on Twitter that it promotes “abusive practices against women.”
Under Saudi law, women must have consent from their husband or immediate male relative to renew passports or to leave the country.
Despite the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman garnered international attention with his rapid rise to power and promise of social and economic reforms, the Kingdom has detained a number of human rights and women campaigners, some of them accused of undermining national security, with scant public information about their whereabouts or the legal status of their cases.