The Israel Internet Association, Privacy Israel, Law, Technology & Cyber Legal Clinic at University of Haifa Faculty of Law, Israel Democracy Institute, Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and International Human Rights Clinic at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem oppose the digital procedures proposed by the state in the Arrangements Law submitted soon to the Knesset’s approval.
The joint appeal states that the critical issue lies in the amendment to the Digital Communications Law included in the Arrangements Law. The proposed legislation seeks to add the “digital address” (email address and mobile phone number) of Israeli residents aged 16 and over to the personal information already stored in the Population Registry.
I.e., expanding the records to include the entire adult population’s digital details and using these as the default medium for official messages unless people explicitly opt-out. (Authorities would still be allowed to send digital emergency and annual messages.)
The organizations suggest the amendment violates citizens’ freedom to decide how their personal information is used, infringes on their ability to protect their privacy, and risks exposing the data to unauthorized parties.
Moreover, the transition to digital communication as the default method further deepens current social gaps. According to recent data, email usage among Arab and ultra-Orthodox populations is significantly low. The civil society organizations call for the withdrawal of the proposed legislation from the Arrangements Law to facilitate a public parliamentary discussion about the amendment’s implications on the rights to privacy and fair trial and citizens’ cyber protection.
The letter notes that the draft mentions other issues affecting public privacy and cyber protection, including implementing commercial location monitoring technologies in public transportation and broad adoption of digital wallets and payment methods. Although these initiatives require statutory procedures ensuring the public’s privacy and cyber security, the draft of the Arrangements Law fails to address these issues.
Since no particular urgency or economic necessity justifies the immediate implementation of such complex technological arrangements, the civil society organizations call on elected officials to refrain from advancing them in the Arrangements Law without an exhaustive public parliamentary discussion.