Israeli Affairs

Israeli National Cyber Authority: Police installation of facial recognition cameras violates human rights

Jerusalem24 – The Israeli National Cyber ​​Authority is opposed to the law that the police are seeking to enact, which requires the installation of facial recognition cameras, due to the fear that the details collected by these cameras will be leaked and innocent people will be targeted due to the cameras’ poor diagnostic capabilities. The commission called for limiting the access of the Israeli army and other public bodies to the information collected by the cameras.

According to the law’s memorandum, which was published last month, the information collected by the cameras will be available to the security service, which can use this information without obtaining a court order.

If the bill is approved, facial-recognition cameras will be installed across the country, allowing the identification of citizens’ faces and comparing them with data in police stockpiles.

The police seek to install cameras in order to use them in investigations of crimes, as well as to “thwart violations that could target the safety or security of a person; the safety of the public or the safety of the state; To find missing persons, as well as for “enforcement of entry bans and exclusion orders from public places.”

This means that the police may set up facial recognition cameras at a sports stadium, in order to prevent entry to people who have been removed from it under a court order, Haaretz newspaper reported today, Tuesday.

The memorandum of the law states that the information that will be stored in the camera system will be confidential and will not be used, except in the following cases: saving or protecting a person’s life; detect, investigate or prevent violations and crimes; Confiscation of property in accordance with the law.

The memorandum of the law states that the police can hand over information to several bodies, including the Military Intelligence Division and the Shin Bet security service, “in order to carry out their missions.”

The Cyber ​​Authority protested because of the lack of consultation with it in preparing the memorandum of the law, according to the newspaper, although the competence in the subject of biometric storage is within the authority’s responsibilities.

The Cyber ​​Authority indicated in a document that included its notes on the memorandum of the law that “the biometric systems that are used to implement this face various challenges, and they are of lower accuracy than the monitoring systems for recognizing faces.”

The authority added that “improper operation would lead to significant error rates and potential targeting of human rights,” and that “many corrections are needed in the memorandum so that its content fits with the trends of the global system, especially with the legislation pushed by the European Union.”

The Cyber ​​Authority attached its observations to a document it prepared last month, titled “Facial Recognition in the Public Space in Israel – Principles of Policy,” which outlined the dangers of operating the cameras. It stated that these cameras could lead to “harassment of the innocent” and pose risks for “surveillance and targeting of privacy”.

The authority added that the use of cameras in order to manage public order in places where a stadium or demonstrations “may lead to excessive storage of images of people’s faces in a way that can be used to monitor them, document their movements and document their political positions – thus it is possible to target privacy, a person’s feeling of freedom and freedom of expression due to the effect of monitoring.” from this type”.

The authority criticized the installation of cameras from external oversight, and according to the weight of an exclusive opinion of the police: “This is a significant escalation of ‘friction’ between the police and the public, and its improper operation that would lead to high error rates and the targeting of innocents.”

“The memorandum of law poses a real danger of turning Israeli society into a controlled society,” said attorney Avner Pinchuk of ACRI. It is equally astonishing and dangerous that the memorandum sets uniform rules for the use of types of surveillance technology, each of which has its own advantages and risks. They also decided that the Minister of Homeland Security could allow the police to use futuristic surveillance technology, all in secret and without informing the public and the Knesset.”


Mohammad Hamayel

Ramallah based journalist, Mohammad graduated from Al-Quds University with a B.A. in Media and Television. He has covered the 2015 Jerusalem Intifada as well as the Great March of Return for international media outlets. currently an editor/presenter at Jerusalem24. A UN alumni and a follower of global events and politics, especially American affairs.

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