Now Saudi Women Are Electronically Tracked

Guardians get texts when women leave the country

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 23, 2012 5:17 AM CST | Updated Nov 25, 2012 7:00 PM CST

(Newser) – It's the only country in the world where women can't drive—and now, if they leave it, their male guardians are electronically notified. When Saudi Arabian women cross the border, said guardians get a text message. The texts arrive even when couples are traveling together, AFP reports. Women can't leave the country unless their guardians sign them out at an airport or the border.

News of the electronic tracking was spread by women's driving activist Manal al-Sherif on Twitter, where it sparked a backlash. "Hello Taliban, herewith some tips from the Saudi e-government!" posted one user. "This is technology used to serve backwardness in order to keep women imprisoned," wrote columnist Badriya al-Bashir, slamming the "state of slavery under which women are held."

In this Tuesday, May 24, 2011 file photo, Saudi women board a taxi in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
In this Tuesday, May 24, 2011 file photo, Saudi women board a taxi in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.   (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)
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