Do no harm? How the case of Afghanistan sheds light on the dark practice of biometric intervention

In August 2021, as US military forces exited Afghanistan, the Taliban seized facial recognition systems, highlighting just how a failure to protect people’s privacy can tangibly threaten their physical safety and human rights. Far from being good tools which fell into the wrong hands, the very existence of these systems is part of broader structures of data extraction and exploitation spanning continents and centuries, with a history wrapped up in imperialism, colonialism and control.

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