Bill aims to enable agencies to track citizens´ every move (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Tova Tzimuki Published: 05.17.12, 19:01)
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Justice Ministry seeks to expand law that allows government to tap
suspects´ phones, computers
The Justice Ministry is seeking to significantly expand the number of
government agencies authorized to track the moves of citizens for
investigation purposes, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Thursday.
The new legislation would grant the Antiquities Authority, the Nature
and Parks Authority and the Environmental Protection Ministry, among
others, permission to tap Israelis´ phones and computers.
The bill aims to amend a law from 2007 that regulates the
authorities´ ability to seize individuals´ records from companies
that provide communication services. The law enables the relevant
agencies to apply for tracking warrants; if granted by the court,
these warrants allow officials to eavesdrop on suspects´ phone
conversations and go through their text messages, e-mails and
The law currently applies to the Shin Bet, the police and the
military police, as well as the Securities, Antitrust and Tax
authorities. The Justice Ministry claims that expanding the
legislation to additional agencies would bolster their law
The Agriculture Ministry and the Director of Security of the Defense
Establishment would also be among the government bodies allowed
access to personal information if the amendment is ratified.
´Bill is disconcerting´
The revised legislation would not only apply to suspected felonies,
as does the original law, but also to misdemeanors, a move that could
expose a wider array of citizens to tracking.
Antiques thieves are just one example of the type of criminal that
could be exposed if the law is amended, according to a source in the
Judiciary. Moreover, illegal hunters could be tracked by the GPS
devices in their phones, he said.
The proposed legislation is expected to be put up for the Knesset´s
approval by the end of the year.
Attorney Avner Pinchuk of the Association of Civil Rights in Israel
said that the bill is "puzzling and disconcerting."
ACRI and the Bar Association have petitioned the High Court of
Justice against the original law.
Attorney Dan Hay of the Bar Association added: "This expansion hurts
the citizens. At first we dubbed this law ´Big Brother.´ Now it
appears it is amassing more and more brothers."
He noted that it is inappropriate for the Justice Ministry to attempt
to amend a law that is the subject of an ongoing High Court petition.
Telem Yahav contributed to the report (Copyright 2012 © Yedioth
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