How many ways can you track someone? Just off the top of my head I came up with a healthy list. A dog, a private eye, following, the kind of tracking that Google, Facebook, and Amazon do on a few billion earthlings every day, Apple’s Find My iPhone and Find My Friends, and the App Store app Absher that lets men in Saudi Arabia track their wives and daughters.
Anybody got a problem with that last one?
Supposedly, Apple’s Tim Cook is looking into it: “obviously we’ll take a look at it if [the complaints about it are accurate].”
OK, who’s complaining? Saudi men? Saudi women? Or, politicians and others in the U.S. who have it in for the Saudi government these days?
If the likes of Google, Facebook, and Amazon are allowed to track the whereabouts of their users and customers, then what’s the big deal about the Absher app? Is such tracking illegal in Saudi Arabia? If not, what’s the big deal?
Supposedly, Apple adheres to the laws of each country where it does business. That explains why iCloud accounts are stored in China and Russia; local storage gives each government an opportunity to track their citizens, and there is little that U.S. citizens and politicians can do about it. It’s Apple’s policy.
How is tracking Saudi Arabian women and children any different?
Wil and I use Apple’s iOS app Find My Friends which uses GPS to locate those family members and friends who agree to the tracking. Our parents are on the list, too. Do we use it to snoop or as surveillance? Of course not, but it can be useful. I’m certain that many parents in the U.S. use Find My Friends to check on their children, and the App Store has plenty of applications which do the same thing.
If such tracking is legal in Saudi Arabia then Apple would be wise to leave the app on the local App Store because it adheres to local laws; rather than remove it because of complaints from the West.