According to a person associated closely with the matter, the globally established Google has announced to temporarily lock an unknown number associated with an unspecified email account of the Afghan government. As the source clarified, Google took this step concerning the security concerns about the digital files of the former Afghan government officials and their foreign partners.
Since the Taliban grabbed control of Afghanistan in a weeks time, multiple reports have highlighted that the Taliban may use biometric devices and employee databases to wipe out the enemy. On Friday, Alphabet Inc’s Google stated that it was following the situation in Afghanistan and could not confirm that the Afghan government’s accounts were shut. The employee claimed that the Taliban had asked him to store data on the servers of his ministries and commissions at the end of last month.
The employee stated that they would have had access to obtain all the official data and communications from the previous ministerial leaders if he had done it. The employee said that he did not obey orders and then went into hiding. For the sake of his safety, Reuters did not disclose the identity of this person or the organization he serves.
Public records show that more than 20 Afghan government agencies use Google servers to process official mail, including the Ministry of Finance, the Industry Ministry, the Ministry of Higher Education, the Ministry of Mining, the Presidential Concierge Office, and some local government agencies. Once the Taliban have access to government databases and email information, they can obtain information about former government employees, former ministers, government contractors, tribal allies, and foreign partners.
Chad Anderson, a security researcher at Domain Tools, an internet intelligence company, assisted the media in analyzing which out of all the ministries could run which particular email platform. He pointed out that based on reports that government workers have been retaliated against, “even just getting a Google Form with a list of employees is enough to become a big problem.”
According to mail exchanger data, Microsoft Corp. emailed many Afghan government organizations, including the ministry of international affairs and the presidency. However, there has been no clear stance on what steps Microsoft is seeking to take to prevent the data from being placed in the wrong hands of the Taliban forces.