The Taliban have appropriated the facial recognition tools of the Americans

The Taliban have appropriated the facial recognition tools of the Americans

And they could allow the Islamist group to track down who has collaborated with Westerners in recent years

(photo: Chris Hondros / Getty Images) After the fall of Kabul, the archives of biometric data collected by the United States in Afghanistan, along with facial recognition and fingerprinting devices, they could now be used by the Taliban to track down civilians who have collaborated with Westerners.

According to The Intercept, which quotes an official from the Joint special operations command and three former US military, portable identity detection devices known as Handheld Interagency Identity Detection Equipment (Hiide) were seized last week during the Taliban offensive.

Hiide devices contain biometric identifying data. such as iris scans and fingerprints as well as biographical information and are used for ac yield to large centralized databases. These archives - which according to a report had a target of 25 million entries - were part of a military project and were used to track down terrorists, but there are also the data of many people who collaborated with the army or with embassies. Hence the concern.

It is not yet known for certain whether and how these data could be used by the Taliban. "The Taliban do not have the tools to use the data," a former army special operations official told The Intercept. However, this biometric data could be accessed by someone else, such as the Pakistani intelligence agency.

According to Reuters, however, the Taliban have used the government's biometric data over the past five years to "target members of the security forces, checking their fingerprints in a database ”.

The human rights organization Human rights first argues in any case that "it is very difficult to avoid recognition based on biometric data", but there are some things that can be done to try to deceive the devices. He says a basic precaution against surveillance cameras is to look down, this reduces the chances of recognition but also recommends prosthetics to try to change the shape of the face.

The Face ID of a smartphone can be useful as a baseline test to see if these tricks can work. "But if you can't fool your smartphone, you probably won't be able to fool the most advanced facial recognition technology." A more comprehensive guide on how to avoid facial recognition has been published in English, Farsi and Pashto. databases of their collaborators, due to the risk of the Taliban hacking. However, it seems that no one has considered an even greater risk: that these archives fall into enemy hands.

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