The Alphabet-owned IT giant has reportedly found nothing wrong with the controversial app, devised by the Saudi government to help citizens with routine administrative duties such as tracking female members of their families, the Insider reported on Saturday. The statement was made by Google in response to a request by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-California) and another 13 of her fellow lawmakers, including freshman Muslim representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.
The app that has sparked an outcry in the US House is Absher, which provides Saudi citizens and residents with an opportunity to “safely browse your profile or your family members, or labors working for you, and perform a range of eServices online.”
In the ultra-conservative kingdom with its strict male guardianship system, these services include helping a male guardian see if a woman attempts to use her passport, and stop her from leaving.
As she filed a request with Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai to pull the app, Speier warned that if the companies keep it on their platforms, they would become “accomplices in the oppression of Saudi Arabian women and migrant workers.”