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14 members of the United States Congress asked Apple and Google to remove an app that allows men to monitor and prevent women from leaving the country.

Absher is an app developed by the Saudi Arabia Government that can be downloadd from the Play Store and used for many simple tasks such as renewing the drivers license, registering a newborn or paying parking tickets, but it also allows men to monitor women and they can also see if they are planning to leave the country.

The Absher system is very simple: the app allows men to add “dependents” which can be women or children. The “dependents” can receive permission to leave the country or they can be denied of this.

There is also an alert system that notifies men in case their “dependents” – women or children – want to leave Saudi Arabia. The Absher system sends a text message with the name of the “dependent”, the date and location.

Jackie Speier, a Democrat from California along with 13 other members of the United States Congress asked the app to be removed from the Play Store and App Store however Google has refused to comply motivating that Absher is not in violation of Google’s policy and terms of use.

Apple hasn’t made an official ruling in the case and the company said it is still investigating the app.

“Not allowing women – who are victims of abuse – to leave is a bad thing. I will speak to my colleagues and will see what can be done to fix this problem” Speier said.


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