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ACRI files petition against biometric database

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The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) has petitioned the High Court of Justice to suspend the Biometric Database Law, citing it constitutes a grave breach of privacy.

The law enabled the formation of a biometric database pilot program. The petition claims that other than infringing on the right to privacy, any leak of the database would cause irrevocable damage to public safety and security.

ACRI’s petition was joined by the Digital Rights Association and Doron Ofek, a data security expert. The petitioners stressed that they have no objections to the State’s intent to implement biometric identification cars – only to the formation of a national biometric database.

"A database holding biometric information about everyone in the country is a tremendously sensitive resource," the petition said.

"This is an unprecedented control and monitoring mechanism and one that constitutes an unnecessary infringement on one’s rights to freedom and privacy. It undermined the very core of democracy and poses a risk to the public’s safety and security," the petition said.

According to the ACRI, "The State of Israel has needlessly bound the plan to form the database with its wish to issue ‘smart IDs.’"

The Biometric Database Law was approved in 2008 and immediately encountered fierce objection. The pilot program is meant to test both its viability and security, as a compromise between those supporting the legislation and those opposing it.

The pilot program demands that the Population and Immigration Authority prove it is able to sustain and protect the database, before registering in it becomes mandatory.

The results will determine whether a full biometric database will be formed, or whether the State will such information would be kept only on smart IDs.

The pilot program will conclude in late 2013.


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