'ISI interested:' US-built database a potential tool for Taliban repression

7th Sep,2021

'ISI interested:' US-built database a potential tool for Taliban repression


For two decades, the United States and its allies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars creating databases for the Afghan people. Noble stated goal: to promote peace and government accountability and to modernize war-torn lands. But in seizing control of the Taliban, many digital tools, including biometrics, have apparently fallen into the hands of the Taliban. Built with some data-protection securities, it risks becoming a high-tech jackboot of surveillance status. As the Taliban gain a foothold in their rule, there are concerns that it could be used to enforce social control and punish perceived enemies. For such data to work creatively - to promote education, to empower women, to combat corruption - democratic stability is essential, and these systems are not designed for the chances of defeat. "It's a terrible irony," said Frank Pascal, a Brooklyn Law School scholar on intelligence technology. "This is a real lesson. " Since the fall of Kabul on August 15, there have been indications that Taliban efforts are using government data to identify and locate Afghans. They can intimidate those who have worked. With the U.S. military. People are receiving malicious and threatening phone calls, texts and WhatsApp messages, said Nisha Suarez, component services director of Seth Moulton, a Massachusetts spokesman for the Iraq war veteran. Trying to do. In the 27-year-old U.S. Kabul, the contractor told the Associated Press that colleagues who developed the U.S. funding database for military and police payroll management had received phone calls to the Ministry of Defence. He was in anonymity, changing his position every day, asking that he not be recognized for his safety. In the victory, Taliban leaders said they were not interested in retaliation. Restoring international aid and stabilizing foreign assets is a priority. When he ruled from 1996 to 2001 - there were signs of harsh sanctions, especially on women. There is also no indication that Afghans working with Americans have been systematically persecuted. Ali Karimi, a University of Pennsylvania scholar, did not trust the Taliban in Afghanistan. He worries that the database will give stern radical theologians known for ruthlessly killing enemy allies during the uprising, "the same ability as the average U.S. government agency in terms of intelligence and interception." The world is watching to see how the Taliban use data. All Afghans - and their international partners - should use sensitive government data only for "development purposes" and not for police or social control. To serve the Taliban or other governments in the region, said Nader Nadery, peace negotiator and head of the Civil Service Commission in the former government. The future of one of the most sensitive databases currently used to pay soldiers and police is uncertain. The Afghan staff and payment system contain data on 700,000 security forces members from 40 years ago, a senior security official in the fallen government said. Its more than 40 data fields include date of birth, phone number, father and grandfather's name, fingerprints and iris and face scans, and two Afghan contractors are working, speaking in anonymity for fear of retaliation. Only authorized users can access the system, so if the Taliban can't find one, they hope to try to hack it, a former official said on an anonymous basis for fear of the safety of relatives in Kabul. Can he hoped that the Pakistan ISI Intelligence Service, a longtime guardian of the Taliban, would provide technical assistance. U.S. analysts expect Chinese, Russian and Iranian intelligence to also provide similar services. Originally intended to combat payroll fraud, the system would eventually have to interface with a powerful database in the Ministries of Defence and Interior, modelled on the Pentagon model created in 2004 to track fingerprints in war zones. And "identity dominance" can be achieved by collecting iris and face scans. But the indigenous Afghanistan automated biometric identification database holds 8.5 million records from one tool, including government enemies and civilians, for loyalty to vet army and police appointments. It was upgraded under a $ 75 million deal signed in 2018 when Kabul collapsed, along with a similar database in Iraq. On August 3, the government website reported the digital success of President Ashraf Ghani, who will soon go into exile. Biometric information enables "civil servants in every corner of the country" to link "under one umbrella" with banks and cell phone carriers for electronic payments. UN agencies distribute food and collect biometrics in Afghanistan for refugees. Tracking. The central pool of such personal data belongs exactly to the 37 digital civil liberties groups that signed the August 25 letter calling for the closure and removal of Afghanistan's "digital identification tools" on August 25. Between measurements. The letter states that authoritarian governments have exploited such data to "target vulnerable individuals" and increase the risk of a digitized, searchable database. Conflicts - including race and religion- in the e-Tazkira database could put a digital bully on minorities, fearing China would delay its creation for more than a decade, as it has done in cracking down on its own ethnic extremists. John Woodward, a Boston University professor and former CIA officer who pioneered the Pentagon's biometrics collection, is concerned about intelligence agencies hostile to the United States seeking to get a data trove. "ISI (Pakistan Intelligence) would be interested to know who worked for the Americans," Woodward said.