Saudi Arabia: An app to track women

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A surveillance system has been set up by the Saudi government to control women and prevent them from fleeing the country, known as the ‘Absher’ application, it allows guardians of women (brothers, husbands, and fathers) to track down their movements.

Indeed, Saudi women need permission from their guardians to travel, or even leave the house for any reason, and with the Absher app, men can grant or revoke their permission in a few clicks. The application has a system that sends real-time SMS notifications to guardians, signed by the Ministry of the Interior, when a woman under their guardianship presents a passport at borders or airports.

However, many Saudi women have taken advantage of their holidays abroad to flee, where local authorities are not subject to the same prohibitions, others have in the past stolen their guardian’s smartphone and adjusted the settings in order to escape.

Every year, many women flee Saudi Arabia in search of freedom, but in most cases, fugitives are stranded at the border, while other women succeed and help others who want to leave their country, leading to the development of support networks for women who want to rebuild their lives.