Serious questions raised with Apple over hosting “abhorrent” Saudi government app

Charlie Spargo's picture
by Charlie Spargo
Tim Cook, Apple

A Saudi mobile app, Absher, listed both on the App and Google Play Stores, has been shown to let men engage in dangerous, controlling behaviour towards women.

It has been downloaded almost 10 million times between the two mobile platforms. An INSIDER investigation revealed the state-run service contains an entire database of women in Saudi Arabia, and allows men to control when they can travel.

As well as regular, predictable services including the capacity to pay fines and renew driving licenses, these insidious capabilities have caused uproar among human rights groups.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, when confronted with the issue while speaking to America’s NPR, said he would consider taking action. "I haven't heard about it. But obviously we'll take a look at it if that's the case."

His comments came following a letter written by Democratic Senator Ron Wyden - sent both to Cook and Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai - describing the app as “abhorrent.”

Google are yet to make a public statement.

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