Google on Friday has said that it has temporarily locked down some email accounts of the Afghan government, amid attempts by terrorist group Taliban to access the emails of former Afghan officials. The news, which was first reported by Reuters, has Google saying that it is “taking temporary actions to secure relevant accounts,” without admitting to any complete lockdown of the said accounts.
A spokesperson speaking on behalf of the tech giant has said that the company is constantly consulting experts, while assessing the situation in the country. Keeping in mind the same, they have decided to lock down some accounts. The accounts have reportedly been completely locked down, to prevent information stored in them from being used to track down former government officials, and jeopardizing their lives.
Potential Targets For Revenge
While it is not yet clear how many accounts have been locked by the tech biggie, it seems like a smart move, considering the widespread concerns about the possibility of Islamic fundamentalists trying to gain access to the accounts of Afghan officials, and using the same to take advantage of official files in a bid to identify people and “take revenge” on those who have worked for Kabul, or Western-back institutions.
The report by Reuters claims that nearly two dozen departments of the Afghan government had relied on Google to handle their official emails, including those from the Finance Minsitry, as well as the office of the presidential protocol. Many other agencies, including the presidential office and the ministry of foreign affairs, have been said to use Microsoft’s email system. It is not known if the latter plans on taking any similar steps to protect the identities of Afghan officials.
YouTube Steps Up, Twitter Lay’s Down Ground Rules
Meanwhile, video platform YouTube, which is owned by Google, has also said that it will promptly “terminate” any account that it has reason to believe is being operated by Taliban. Social media platform Twitter, on the other hand, has said that it will allow Taliban accounts to remain functional, while enforcing its rules regarding platform manipulation, spams, and the “glorification of violence,” in a way that the company describes as “proactive.”
Additionally, The Associated Press has revealed that Western Union, which had put a temporary stop to its services in Afghanistan, will be resuming transfers in the country, which could help Afghans receive money from their relatives who live abroad.