Google has temporarily blocked a number of email accounts from governmentthe Afghan, according to a person familiar with the matter, as fears about the digital tracks left by former officials and their international partners after the Taliban took power.
In the weeks since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan from a government backed by the United States, reports highlighted how Afghan payroll and biometric databases can be exploited by new rulers to hunt down their enemies.
On Friday (3), in a statement, Google was not clear if the Afghan government accounts were being blocked and said it is monitoring the situation and "taking temporary measures to secure the relevant accounts".
Meanwhile, a member of the former government said the Taliban is trying to get e-mails from former officials. Late last month, the official said the Taliban had asked to preserve data held on the servers of the ministry he worked for.
Publicly available e-mail records show that about two dozen Afghan government agencies have used Google's servers to handle official e-mails, including the Ministries of Finance, Industry and Higher Education.
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Afghanistan's presidential office also used Google, as did some local government agencies. Therefore, requesting government databases and emails could provide information about former government officials, former ministers, government contractors, allies, and foreign partners.
“That would be a wealth of information,” said Chad Anderson, a security researcher at Internet intelligence firm DomainTools who helped Reuters identify which ministries operate which email platform.
The records show that the services of email from Microsoft were used by various Afghan government agencies, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Presidency. On the other hand, it is unclear what steps the company is taking to prevent the data from reaching the Taliban.
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