Google won’t pull Saudi Arabian controversial app from Play store

Google won’t pull Saudi Arabian controversial app from Play store
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Highlights

Google told that it wont pull Absher, Saudi Arabias controversial government app from its app store, telling California representative Jackie Speier that it did not violate its policies, and that it would continue

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Google confirmed that it won’t pull Absher from its play store
  • The app allows Saudi men to control the movements of dependent women
  • Apple CEO Tim Cook said that he will look into the issue

Google told that it won’t pull Absher, Saudi Arabia’s controversial government app from its app store, telling California representative Jackie Speier that it did not violate its policies, and that it would continue.

The app allows Saudi people to access government services, allowing them to apply for jobs or permits, renew licenses, pay fines and report crimes. On the other hand, it also allows Saudi men to keep a track of female dependents and control their movement.

A recent report outlined how Saudi men could make use of the app to control female dependents, as the app can be used to revoke travel privileges, keep tabs on their location, and also send SMS messages with updates about their whereabouts. Following the report publication, human rights groups such as Amnesty International have criticized both companies for hosting the app. At the same time, Speier and a group of fellow representatives sent a letter to the CEOs of Google and Apple, asking them to pull the app from their respective stores.

Reports say that Google has responded to the congressional letter and that the app remains in Google’s storefront. Speier called the response “deeply unsatisfactory,” in a statement and that she plans to follow up with the issue with her colleagues. Apple CEO Tim Cook said that he will look into the issue during an interview with NPR last month, but has yet to say whether or not it will reject the app from the App Store.

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