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U.S.-Built Databases Potential Tool of Taliban Repression

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woman getting eye scan at passport office in Kabul, Afghanistan

Employee scans the eyes of a woman for biometric data at the passport office in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Credit: Rahmat Gul / AP Photo

Experts fear the Taliban could exploit expansive databases built by the U.S. and its allies during the Afghanistan occupation as tools for surveillance and repression. The developers intended the databases, which include biometrics for verifying identities, to promote law and order, government accountability, and modernization. A former Afghan government security official said the Afghan Personnel and Pay System has data on over 700,000 security forces members dating back four decades, including birth dates and phone numbers.

A different database stores fingerprints and iris and face scans, according to two contractors who worked on the database.

Ali Karimi, a critical information scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, says these resources could grant fundamentalist theocrats "the same capability as an average U.S. government agency when it comes to surveillance and interception."

From The Associated Press
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