In February, fourteen members of Congress called on Apple and Google to remove Absher, a Saudi Arabian app allowing men to track women. Now, Google refuses to pull the app because it doesn’t violate any policies, according to Business Insider.
Absher partially functions as a regular government app where Saudi users can request passports, birth certificates, etc. However, Insider reported Absher allows men to track their female relatives, including receiving SMS alerts when women use their passports.
After Congress members called on both companies to respond by February 28, Google has come back saying it “meets all their terms and conditions,” according to Business Insider.
Rep. Jackie Speier told Business Insider that the response was “deeply unsatisfactory,” adding, “Not only do they have the capability to take action, they have done so previously with the removal of the Living Hope Ministries app, which encouraged users to ‘convert’ LGBTQ individuals, based on its ability to cause harm.”
Along with tracking women, people can also track migrant workers through Absher. Migrant workers already face exploitation and abuse, including sometimes having their passports withheld.
In their original letter, Congress members wrote, “Keeping this application in your stores allows your companies and your American employees to be accomplices in the oppression of Saudi Arabian women and migrant workers.”
This isn’t over for Google, as Speier plans to follow up on the issue with her colleagues.