Saudi man with phone, woman in the backgroundimage rights
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The app makes it easier for men to prevent women from traveling, claim human rights groups

A Saudi Arabian app that helps track women and prevent them from traveling is being investigated by Apple, the CEO said.

In an interview with NPR, Tim Cook said he did not know the Absher app but would check it.

The app, which provides access to government services, has been criticized by human rights groups.

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden has asked Apple and Google to remove them from their businesses.

Women in Saudi Arabia must be allowed leave the country by a male guardian, usually a father or husband.

The Absher app, which was developed for a number of government services, e.g. As the renewal of licenses, the admission or prohibition of travel significantly simplifies and can be done via a smartphone.

Originally developed for the Home Office, the app has been used for several years and downloaded more than a million times.

An investigation by the website Insider showed how male guardians used women, sisters and daughters to restrict or allow international travel.

The man receives a notification when a fun woman tries to leave the country.

Human Rights Watch said the publication, "Apps like these can alleviate human rights violations, including discrimination against women."

In an open letter to both companies, Mr. Wyden wrote in response to the report: "It is hardly news that the Saudi monarchy wants to restrict and oppress Saudi women, but American companies should not facilitate or facilitate the patriarchate of the Saudi government."

The app was also used by some women to secretly change the settings on their male guardian's phone so they can travel, the insider reports.

Google has not responded to requests from the BBC for comments.

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