Google is in some hot water in the court of public opinion at the moment, and it seems that the company is in a bit of a lose-lose situation. There is controversy stirring up about an app called Absher, an app made by the Saudi government that includes features that allow male guardian to control a woman’s travel permissions and passport access. The app can even send an SMS alert to the man when a woman uses her passport.
Of course the app has a wide variety of features that allow citizens can use around 160 government services, including renewing various forms of ID, apply for jobs, and more. However, the apparent violation of women’s rights has people angry and demanding that Google remove the app from the Play Store.
Google has officially announced that it will not be removing the app as it does not violate any of the Play Store’s policies. The company has made no further comment on the situation.
Google is stuck between a rock and a hard place. If the app does not violate any company policies, can it be taken down without proper reason or warning? It could also have an effect on the average Saudi citizen, including those who would not use the controversial features of the apps. However, not removing it will get Google a lot of hate.
Perhaps the company is updating its policies to account for such an app and it will be update to remove those features in the future. Without official word, we don’t know what Google will be doing. But for the time being, there will not be any changes from Google.
Source: Business Insider