Senator Ron Wyden has publicly denounced both Apple and Google for hosting mobile apps that connect to Absher, a Saudi government service designed to allow Saudi men to track their spouses and employees' whereabouts at all times.
Absher is a multifunction service, integrating payments and other services.
Recent events have highlighted the routine oppression of Saudi women, even women from wealthy, powerful households.
Notable: there is no campaign calling on Google and Apple to eliminate apps that allow parents to track their children (including teens) with an accuracy and totality once reserved for paroled prisoners. The adoption curve for oppressive technology goes: refugee, immigrant, prisoner, mental patient, children, welfare recipient, blue collar worker, white collar worker (think, for example, of video surveillance cameras). By this model, the Saudis aren't so much guilty of a horrific program of oppressive misogyny as they are of simply being a decade or so ahead of schedule (and maybe not even that long).
There's really no reason either company should be hosting this app in their app stores. If Absher's creators want to distribute an app that prevents certain Saudi citizens from being treated as equals, they're free to host it on their own site. It's not like the developers don't have the clout to go it alone. The app is developed and supported by none other than the Saudi government.
This isn't the sort of thing American companies should be giving platform space to, even if it technically meets the inconsistent standards both companies apply to app submissions.
Google, Apple Called Out For Hosting Saudi Government App That Allows Men To Track Their Spouses' Movements [Tim Cushing/Techdirt]
Do androids dream of electric sashimi?
Documents on an unprotected, network-connected drive owned by an employee of Nokia shed light on the inner workings of Russia’s networked surveillance system known as SORM (Russian: COPM).
Maria Farrell admits that comparing smartphones to abusive men (they try to keep you from friends and family, they make it hard to study or go to work, they constantly follow you and check up on you) might seem to trivialize domestic partner violence, but, as she points out, feminists have long been pointing out […]
If you’re part of the maker community, you know Make:. Though Make: magazine is off the shelves as of this year, the eBooks and resources put out by Maker Media are still a fantastic resource for the new generation of tinkerers, hackers, and robotics geeks. If you’re in that tribe, listen up: they’ve released a […]
Life isn’t getting any less hectic, and pressure cookers are a quick, healthy solution for a growing number of kitchens. But if you thought your Instant Pot was versatile, there’s a major upgrade on the market: The Yedi 9-in-1 Total Package Instant Programmable Pressure Cooker. If you’ve somehow never used a pressure cooker before, try […]
When it comes to data analytics or deep learning, there’s one language behind the apps and algorithms that power the biggest companies of today: Python. The best part about this tool is that as versatile as it is, it’s actually fairly easy to learn. But mastery? For that, you need more than just a beginners’ […]