Soldiers checking the IMEI number of a mobile phone during a regional anti-insurgent operation in Mali. Reuters
- Saudi Arabia is using military-grade technology to track down the cellphones of women who flee its patriarchal system, several runaways have told INSIDER.
- Four women, all speaking anonymously for fear of reprisal, said they were made aware of attempts to track their cellphones via their IMEI number.
- The unique ID number can pinpoint a phone virtually anywhere but is rarely used by civilians. The US military uses IMEIs to direct drone strikes.
- The technique shows how seriously Saudi Arabia takes the escalating numbers of women fleeing its repressive, male-dominated society.
- Saudi authorities declined to respond to INSIDER’s requests for comment.