The Taliban knows who you are - what now?

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The Taliban knows who you are - what now?

As a result to the recent events in Afghanistan where the Taliban group had successfully taken over Afghanistan, many citizens were left insecure about how their online behaviour could change the way their new government would look upon them. Right now, Afghans are all scrambling to delete their digital history at once.

Take a moment to think about that. Think about having to delete your email, your Facebook account, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram and more because every trace of you on the internet could turn into a life-or-death situation for you and your relatives.

For this, a lot of help is sent to Afghans digitally. The organisation Human Rights First (HRF) has written a document on how to delete your digital history, (of which we also made a copy available here) which can be read along with their document on thwarting digital surveillance. We have a copy of that too, both in English and in Chinese.

Unfortunately, what they control isn't their biggest problem: it's what the Afghan government had gathered on them. It's the databases containing fingerprints, facial data, eyeprints and other personal data that was previously required to gain a passport in Afghanistan and even to vote in 2019. This data now brings Afghans at risk, and they are unable to access, change or delete that data anymore.

What is there to do?

If you're an Afghan, start looking into the documents of deleting your data. Connect to Matrix for secure encrypted communication that is VERY difficult to block, and read on how to use the internet without being surveilled completely.

If you're not involved with the situation, think about the future with this incident in mind. You may trust your current government, but many countries show that it's difficult to predict what the government looks like in 5 years - let alone 50 years. What guarantee do you have that you'll never have to delete your entire identity off the internet too?

We need full privacy and data sovereignty for every citizen. That way, their safety is not at risk if the wrong people grab hold of national or international power.