Saudi men get texts when wives leave country

ALEX FITZPATRICK
Last updated 12:46 27/11/2012

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This post was originally published on Mashable.

Few countries have tighter restrictions on women's freedoms than Saudi Arabia - Saudi women are barred from travelling, working or attending school without permission from a father, husband or other male guardian. They're also unable to vote, though they've been promised that will change in 2015 for local elections.

While women's rights activists in Saudi Arabia have made some small progress in the past few years, the Saudi government has recently expanded its oversight of women's activities. Since last week, Saudi men have been receiving unsolicited text messages alerting them when their wives or daughters are leaving the country, according to CNN.

Saudi men are reportedly getting these texts even if they're travelling alongside their wives, daughters or other female relatives.

The Saudi government has had an electronic notification system like this in place since 2010, but it would previously only notify men who opted-in to the service. Now it's apparently texting all men, regardless of whether they have signed up for the notifications.

Showing that technology's nature lies in the hands of its users, news of and uproar against the text notifications first spread after Manal al-Sherif, a prominent Saudi women's rights activist, tweeted about them.

Al-Sherif first rose to prominence in 2011 after uploading a YouTube video of herself defying the driving ban on women. She was then arrested, jailed and later released on bail.

Mashable is the largest independent news source covering digital culture, social media and technology.

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