Biometrics and counter-terrorism: Case study of Somalia

A case study illustrating the use and looming dangers of collection and use of biometrics in the name of counter-terrorism.


In Somalia, international entities like the US Department of Defense (DoD) and intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations (UN) have used biometrics in the name of counterterrorism, collecting and indefinitely storing biometric data, frequently in the absence of full disclosure or appropritate regulation. These biometric initiatives have had dubious benefits and known detrimental effects on local populations. Nevertheless, most Somalis have little knowledge or say over how their sensitive biometric data is used or shared.

This report was compiled by Keren Weitzberg, a tech and migration researcher, in collaboration with Privacy International.