The world seems to be confronting the same news articles that surfaced around 20 years ago. 

“USA enters the Middle East”

“Is the US military pulling out of the Middle East?”

The newsstands, internet, and entire world seemed to become consumed by the political affairs between the US and the Middle East. Today, more than ever in the past ten years, it seems that this is again the scenario that we are facing. However, this engagement has evolved into one that requires more scrutiny if one is to further understand the complexities of the situation.

This is all due to the fact that war has become evermore technological. When the war first started, and the US military became engaged with the affairs of Middle Eastern countries, it was more than two decades ago. The technological advancements that we have made as a society since then are extreme. Specifically, there was no biometric data on civilians in 2000. This is a facet of war that creates a strong divide between the war that was fought ten years ago, and the war that we are watching unfold today.

What exactly is this advancement?

Beginning in 2010, the US military began collecting biometric data from villagers all around the Middle East. Using a special device that resembled a pair of binoculars, a soldier would collect a retina scan, fingerprint, and photo of the villager and continue to do so until the entire village had been scanned. The device known as HIIDE (Handheld Interagency Identity Detection Equipment) was intended to collect the data of around 80% of villages but the actual figure is closer to around 40%. 

The official reason for the employment of these devices was stated to be a means of tracking all the highly targeted villages in order to protect them from further attacks. The US military stated that a system of biometric data would allow for all military to monitor movements within the Middle East. 

The issue that has become apparent as of late, is the accessibility to the information stored in these systems. There have been discussions regarding the safety of this information and what could be done if it fell into the wrong hands. While some argue that many terrorism organizations are able to access this information, many others argue for the impossibility of this. 

Regardless of if it is possible for this information to be obtained, the fact that I would like to highlight is that the military has been collecting this information for a considerable amount of time. This entails that the information of hundreds of thousands of civilians is stored in a system that most of them are probably unaware of. This invasion of privacy is only beneficial to those who benefit from war. 

Therefore the question that must be asked is, “Do these ethical arguments stand as a genuine opposition to war?” 

Will these innocent civilians continue to play roles as pawns within a war that most of them do not want to be involved in? Is it right to use their information as a wager in the scheme of it all?

We might never know the answer to this question, or at least never reach an astound agreement. Nonetheless, it is evident that war will continue to develop off of the battlefield and into the cyber realm.

Edited by Costanza Marino

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