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The Pentagon used biometric data, such as retinal scans and fingerprints, in Afghanistan to help with counterterrorism efforts. Now there are reports that the Taliban may have seized that biometric data.

  • Margaret Hu, professor of law and international affairs at Penn State, said the Defense Department should reconsider whether expansive biometric data collection is necessary, if there is evidence of efficacy and if database screening is at the highest accuracy level.
  • The Pentagon uses biometric data for counterinsurgency and counterterrorism, integrating it with other databases like terrorist watch lists, but the technology comes with risks, explained Hu.
  • Hu said the “tremendously troubling” reports suggest the Taliban could target individuals based on ethnicity or work affiliations; she said there is not much the United States can do to take back the data.
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