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Israel defense criticized over 26-year-old privacy protocols for biometric data

Israel defense criticized over 26-year-old privacy protocols for biometric data

The state comptroller of Israel has claimed the country’s defense forces are vulnerable to identity theft targeting biometric information.

Writing in a report spotted by The Times of Israel, Matanyahu Englman also highlights security gaps in the nation’s education, transportation, tax and water infrastructures. Those systems are seen as less vulnerable to the theft of biometric data.

But defense officials have not updated their privacy protocols since 1996, he says, and that research suggests only five of 50 databases are adequately defended. Worries extend to the physical security of locations holding the digital information.

Defense protocols of the databases have not been updated for seven years, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Englman issued a statement calling the report’s findings “very disturbing,” according to the Times.

Officials with the Israel Defense Force, or IDF, say they accept most of the recommendations in the comptroller’s report and are implementing them. It is not known which concerns are shared except for the warning about letting privacy protocols go unexamined for 26 years.

For his part, auditor Englman claims defense officials have not adequately protected the biometric information of deceased soldiers, including dental, fingerprints and DNA records.

He says 95 percent of teeth X-rays are in insecure databases along with hundreds of thousands of military members’ fingerprint scans.

Englman says 4,000 outside contractors have had access to aspects of the personally identifiable data from insecure home computers.

Defense officials have dismissed the last point, saying databases examined by the comptroller are on a classified network that is inaccessible externally.

Biometrics was also at the center of a controversial $1.2 billion contract signed this year between the Israeli government, Google and Amazon.

Israel, like many developed economies, has a fraught history with biometric privacy.

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