When the Taliban regime fell in 2001, the social networks that are used religiously today – Facebook, Twitter or YouTube – did not exist and the trace of activities, customs or friends was kept anonymous in the privacy of some witnesses. Twenty years later, the Taliban regained power in Afghanistan And the digital past, overflowing with data thanks to myriad platforms, can be detrimental.
The non-governmental organization Human Rights First has produced at least three documents to help citizens of Myanmar, Hong Kong and Iraq in their effort to erase their digital past in the face of possible reprisals from authoritarian regimes, some have already been translated into Dari or Pashto. , the two main languages of Afghanistan, as reported by El País.
One of the documents, entitled “How to erase your digital history”, details the amount of digital services that we use without realizing it and, in the case of Afghanistan, simply having an account in an application or software used by foreign organizations is potentially suspicious. .
The recommendation begins by reviewing emails, networks and messaging applications where there may be contacts or messages that would be used as incriminating by the Taliban. The document explains that “It can be useful to search your name in search engines to determine what information is available about you”Also locate all the passwords that you have saved and search your email for the internet pages that you follow to register.
Another organization, Access Now, offers a guide to “self-doxing” that consists of searching all the visible data of a person on the Internet. This guide explains which way to go so that you are untraceable in search engines or databases, either by your name, pseudonym or photo, and provides you with the necessary links for you to request that your information be restricted from the main networks.
Welton Chang, chief technology officer of the non-governmental organization Human Rights First, considers that, once your technological past has been erased, it is also suspicious not to have any instrument or digital trace, so he recommends, if there is time, “Create a short and non-incriminating digital life.”
However, the biggest problem of the digital past – and like everything in social networks – is that nothing depends on oneself. An American organization that worked with Afghans could expose them, as Moira Whelan, director of Democracy and Technology at the National Democratic Institute, warned on Twitter:
“Public Service Announcement to all US Government Social Media Officers: Please get permission to purge your accounts, YouTube channels, Flickr, images and captions of Afghan partners”.
And if there is any doubt that the Taliban – so archaic with modernity – use technology to search for information, Chang does not rule out that they have specialists and adds that there is evidence: “We have seen reports of members of the Taliban using Facebook search to find users linked to Americans taking advantage of the lack of privacy settings.”
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.