ACRI Files Freedom of Information Petition on Secret Security Wiretaps

CC-BY-SA: MaplemusketeerCC-BY-SA: Maplemusketeer

 

 

 

ACRI has filed an Administrative Court petition to compel Prime Minister’s Office to reveal number of secret security wiretapping warrants issued and procedures used to approve them

 

 

 

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) has filed a petition to the Administrative Court in Jerusalem under the Freedom of Information Law, seeking an order that will compel the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to provide ACRI with the number of warrants issued by the Prime Minister to execute security wiretaps over the past five years, including the number of people – and the number of the Israeli citizens and residents – covered by such warrants. In addition, ACRI sought to obtain the guidelines that guide the Prime Minister in exercising this authority.

 

Security wiretaps, as opposed to criminal wiretaps, are carried out by the General Security Service are not subject to judicial review. They are requested by the GSS (General Security Service, or “Shin Bet”) and approved by the Prime Minister, who must report only to the Attorney General and a combined committee of the Constitution, Law and Justice and Foreign Affairs and Defense Committees, whose hearings are held behind closed doors.

 

The petition was filed after the PMO refused to provide ACRI with information about the wiretapping in response to a freedom of information request ACRI filed. In the petition, Attorney Lila Margalit, Director of ACRI’s Human Rights in the Criminal Process Program, alleged that the PMO has not given proper weight to the public’s right to information – a right directly connected to the freedom of expression.

 

According to Attorney Margalit:The Supreme Court has ruled in the past that wiretapping constitutes a serious invasion of privacy. It is deeply unsettling for the person being listened to, limiting his free will and impinging on his basic right to privacy. It is intolerable for such sensitive power to be exercised without the public having the minimum tools needed to discuss the fundamental questions that surround it.”

 

Related Materials

To read the full petition (in Hebrew) click here.

To read ACRI’s correspondence with the PMO and Ministry of Defense on the subject of security wiretaps (in Hebrew), click here.

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Categories: Democracy and Civil Liberties, Freedom of Information, The Right to Privacy

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