U.S. carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile routinely receive Provide Subscriber Information (PSI) messages from foreign phone companies to help them track roaming costs for users on foreign cell plans traveling abroad.
Saudi Arabia appears to be exploiting weaknesses in the global mobile telecoms network to track its citizens as they travel around the US, according to a whistleblower who has shown the Guardian millions of alleged secret tracking requests.
New reporting alleges that Saudi Arabian crown prince Mohammed bin Salman hacked Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos‘ phone through WhatsApp. The report raises renewed concern about top White House aide Jared Kushner’s reported WhatsApp communications with bin Salman.
STCS, a Saudi Arabian telecom company, was running a server containing hundreds of thousands of constantly updated GPS locations before Motherboard contacted the organization about the issue.
Micah Lee, a computer security engineer and journalist, told INSIDER "it would be trivial for Saudi Arabia, as well as any other country, to track someone's physical location if they know the IMEI number of their target's phone.".
The app also lets men in Saudi Arabia specify when and where to adult women under their "guardianship", including wives and unmarried daughters, are allowed to travel.
Read more: Q&A: The hurdles and obstacles Saudi women runaways face Yasmine Mohammed, an ex-Muslim and outspoken critic of Saudi Arabia, told INSIDER that the companies are "facilitating the most archaic misogyny" and help the Saudi government to enforce "gender apartheid." According to the Google Play store, Absher has been downloaded on Android devices more than 1 million times.
NOS At least 1,000 women try to flee Saudi Arabia each year, and experts told INSIDER the text alerts have enabled many men to catch family members before they make it out.
The disappearance of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi is becoming a major international incident as Western governments line up to cast doubt on the implausible and inconsistent story offered by Saudi Arabia about his death.
We found suspected NSO Pegasus infections associated with 33 of the 36 Pegasus operators we identified in 45 countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, France, Greece, India, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Poland, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, the UAE, Uganda, the United Kingdom, the United States, Uzbekistan, Yemen, and Zambia.