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Continued tech fallout from Afghan, with lessons for data management

I talked last week about leaving behind biometric scanners in Afghanistan, and how that is opening potential security risks. 

Politico is highlighting more risks here.   Quoting them.  

For decades, the U.S. government poured money into helping the Afghanistan government build its own surveillance apparatuses, collect data for both a voter registry and national ID system that includes ethnicity info and set up a homegrown telecommunications sector that stores reams of records on who Afghans have called and where they’ve been.

All of that amounts to a surveillance system that many Afghans objected to under the country’s prior, U.S.-backed government.

 Now, Sam Sabin and Heidi Vogt report for Pros, it all belongs to the Taliban — and experts warn that all that data could now be used to help the group track and retaliate against Afghans who aided the United States or the former government.

 “There’s almost no doubt that they’ve gotten their hands on an enormously valuable trove of information that they can exploit at their leisure,” said Thomas Warrick, a former Department of Homeland Security counterterrorism official.

There’s responses – many Afghans are wiping their social media profiles, and some companies are responding.   Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Clubhouse are all rolling out tools to protect users there, including the blocking the ability for non-friends to download their profile picture or see their posts.

And, if you want to dive deeper, Ive included a link to a piece from the New York Times about how the Taliban have built infrastructure for control via Social Media, and how they might use technology to build power. 

Why do we care?

Anyone interested in thinking about data management as a service – the idea of helping organizations understand what the implications of and use of the data collected would be, both positive and negative – should be following this story.  

This is the unintended consequences of data collection.    It’s a horrible case study playing out in real time.     And that’s why technologists should care.