Court blocks Israeli police request to access biometric database

Israeli police have been blocked by a District Court ruling from a national biometric database, which they had planned to use to confirm the identity of an Israeli citizen killed abroad, Haaretz reports.

Haifa District Court Judge Ron Sokol reversed his own previous ruling, after finding out that a law enabling the Biometric Database Authority to share the data is not yet officially in force, pending Knesset approval of related regulations. The regulations required for Article 17 of the law to come into effect are currently being drafted, according to Haaretz.

The agency refused a police request for the data, saying it was only authorized to share biometrics with the Population, Immigration and Border Authority. Instead, the agency suggested the family of the deceased return his body to Israel, where it could compare his fingerprints with those in the database, or DNA testing could be performed to confirm his identity.

Judge Sokol requested that the police inform him whether they will withdraw the request, which appears to be the first attempt to be the first of its kind.

The management of the database is the subject of a lawsuit in the National Labour Court, filed by the private contractor who had managed it for two years on an interim basis, allegedly violating a rule that it must be maintained by a government employee.

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