New Bill Memorandum Seeks to Enable More Bodies to Follow Us

The Ministry of Justice is working on the memorandum of a bill (link to the draft memorandum in Hebrew) to expand the list of institutions and bodies that could receive personal information regarding telephone and internet communications from cellular phone companies and internet providers – for the purpose of investigations.
Israeli law enforcement authorities are already authorized to receive personal information of this nature. The Enforcement Authorities – Communications Data Law – 2007 (nicknamed the “Big Brother Law”) enables the police and other investigative authorities in Israel to receive personal information on any person from cellular phone companies and internet providers – information on the person’s location, names of persons or organizations this person called or emailed, websites this person visited, and so on.
In April 2008, petitions against this law were filed to the High Court of Justice by ACRI and by the Israel Bar Association. The petitions were brought before an extended panel of seven justices and are still pending.
During Knesset discussions regarding this matter, it became apparent that law enforcement authorities acted against the law when they did not report, as they were required to do, the extent of their violations of privacy. After a short period of time, there was an increase of over 50% in data collection regarding cellular phone calls and internet surfing – without any judicial review.
According to attorney Avner Pinchuk, Director of ACRI’s Right to Privacy Program, “it is troubling that the Ministry of Justice is seeking to expand data collection authorities even before a High Court ruling regarding the existing law, which already authorizes law enforcement and security authorities to violate the right to privacy of all of us. Knesset discussions of this mater in recent years revealed that the police collected personal data much more than the law allowed. Once more bodies are added to this list, the extent of such activities is likely to increase at the expense of the right to privacy of all Israeli citizens.”

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Categories: Anti-Democratic Initiatives, Democracy and Civil Liberties, The Right to Privacy

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