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NGO says Israel’s biometric database law an infringement of privacy rights


The Digital Rights Movement has filed a request to Israel’s High Court to block the state from a public campaign to convince the public to sign up for smartcard identification and the country’s biometric database.

According to a report in The Jerusalem Post this court action is a part of the NGO’s broader campaign to get the new biometric database law struck as an unconstitutional infringement of privacy rights, asserting that the campaign is designed to fool the public into signing up for all aspects of the biometric database, even though the public has the right to refuse giving over their fingerprints.

From the outset, there have been concerns raised about privacy rights and risks of identity and personal information theft but defenders of the law say the final version reflects a number of compromises to address privacy concerns.

Previously, citizens had the option of selecting either a biometrics-based or regular ID card or passport. Now all residents will be photographed digitally when they apply for either the ID card or passport, and will have the option to voluntarily submit their fingerprints to the national database and receive a 10-year passport, or decline and receive a 5-year passport.

The database will not include fingerprints of any children under the age of 16. Police and security authorities will have access to the database under certain conditions.

The law also includes an option to delete fingerprint data for anyone who already gave their permission to access that data during the biometric database’s pilot program.

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