Apple and Google blasted over female tracking app in Saudi Arabia

Both Apple and Google are under fire for carrying an app that allows Saudi Arabian males to control the travel of females. The e-government app, named Absher, provides a general portal of government services, such as vehicle registration and birth certificates. But it also allows men to restrict the travel of women, both by taking away their ability to leave the country and limiting the dates they are able to travel. Under local law, it is illegal for Saudi women to travel without the permission of a male guardian – typically a male relative. Google and Apple have been criticised by human rights groups for facilitating human rights abuse by offering apps on their respective platforms.

A Russian internet?

Russia has plans to disconnect from the internet in an attempt to strengthen cyber defences. The country wants to be able to control its own ‘sovereign internet’ and thereby shut out all outside traffic and is currently calling on local telcos to see if they are able to do it. The changes would isolate RuNet (Russia’s internet infrastructure) from the rest of the world, meaning if another nation tried to attack the country’s online infrastructure it could essentially cut itself off from the rest of the worldwide web. The proposed legislation passed through Russian parliament last week and local providers are currently testing capabilities to see if any amendments are required before the bill becomes law on 1 April.

Telstra profits down

Telstra has announced a 28% drop in its half-year net profit. Revenue was down 1.7% and there was also a 16.1% fall in earnings. “The markets have been intensely competitive around mobile and fixed [products] and that has had an impact on industry revenues,” CEO Andy Penn said. Despite this, the company has had nearly 240,000 new net mobile subscribers over the same period, and 70,000 net new fixed subscribers.

Dark web drug syndicate caught out

A 25-year-old man and two women aged 24 and 20 have been arrested on the New South Wales south coast, alleged with operating a $17 million drug syndicate on the dark web. “This is probably the first and biggest penetration of the dark web in Australia,” NSW Police acting assistant commissioner Stuart Smith said. Police will allege in court that the man was supplying prohibited drugs, including cocaine, MDMA, LSD, cannabis, methylamphetamine (ice), amphetamine, and prescription medication. It is believed cryptocurrency was used to process the millions in transactions.