Bloomberg Law: Privacy & Data Security brings you single-source access to the expertise of Bloomberg Law’s privacy and data security editorial team, contributing practitioners,...
By Jenny David
Israeli citizens would be required to join a controversial biometrics database, opposed as insecure by some corporate interests, under a law approved Feb. 27 by the country’s parliament.
The database is intended to support a more secure personal identification card system. Supporters say the database is necessary to prevent identity theft by criminals or terrorists. But opponents point to its high cost, alleged violation of privacy rights and risk of abuse. A hacker who gained access to the database, they say, could use stolen biometric data to undermine corporate security systems.
“Placing such sensitive information in government hands could be very, very problematic,” Eli Cohen, CEO of Tel Aviv-based cyberesecurity company Experis Cyber, told Bloomberg BNA Feb. 28. Leaks of biometric data might allow hackers to pose as managers of small and medium-sized companies, “bypassing all their protective programs,” he said.
“Better there should be no central database that I, as a company, cannot control,” he added. Biometric identifiers on personal devices, including smartphones, tablets and wearable devices, is a “better way” to protect both individuals and businesses, he said.
The database was authorized eight years ago as a voluntary system. A pilot program became effective four years ago. The move to make participation mandatory has been under debate ever since the database was proposed.
Interior Minister Arye Dery will have until May 1 to submit detailed enforcement regulations to the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. If the parliament approves the regulations, mandatory participation will take effect July 3.
The law’s final draft made the inclusion of fingerprints in the database optional, required that police obtain a district court order for access to specified data and raised the minimum age for inclusion of minors’ fingerprints from 12 to 16. Those who opt to include only facial recognition in the database will be entitled to a smart identification card for five years, compared to 10 years for those who also submit fingerprints.
Karine Nahon, a founder of database opposition group Digital Rights Movement, said in a Feb. 27 statement that the “biometric database is a brutal act, which could turn Israel into a surveillance state and threaten the safety of its residents.”
The group will petition the High Court of Justice to overturn the law and will seek a declaration that the database is an unconstitutional violation of privacy rights, spokesman Nir Hirshman said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jenny David in Jerusalem at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Donald G. Aplin at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)