The dark uses of technology in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabian women are now subject to electronic tracking when trying to cross borders, in a measure that uses mobile technology to further curtail the human rights of Saudi women.

It has been revealed that since last week the authorities have imposed more onerous restrictions on women in the country, with border authorities utilising mobile technology to trap Saudi women within the country.

Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Sharia law, according to which women are not allowed to travel without male accompaniment. They are also required to cover their whole bodies in a black cloak. Saudi Arabia also remains the only country in the world to have a highly-contested ban on women driving.

According to Saudi law, women may only exit the country with a copy of a document known as the “yellow sheet”, which must be signed by their male guardian at the border post of exit.

To prevent any runaway attempts by unaccompanied women, it has emerged that border authorities in Saudi Arabia have begun sending SMSs to the male guardian of a woman attempting to cross the border and exit the country.

This revelation was brought to light last week, when women’s rights campaigner Manal al-Sherif was told by a married couple of their travel experience. On flying out of the country travelling together, the husband in question received an SMS message from the authorities while still at the airport alerting him to the fact that his wife had crossed the border at Riyadh airport.

Since then, the news has spread like wildfire on social networking sites, with countless Twitter responses mocking the new use of technology by the Saudi authorities.

“Why don’t you cuff your women with tracking ankle bracelets too?” wrote one Twitter user, known as Israa.

Another user suggested in jest: “Why don’t we just install a microchip into our women to track them around?”

A tweet from a user known as Hisham, joked: “If I need an SMS to let me know my wife is leaving Saudi Arabia, then I’m either married to the wrong woman or need a psychiatrist.”

Posted in: Mobile

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