The security measures implemented by Israel often encroach upon basic human rights. It has now been revealed that the airport security in Israel is authorized to demand to read the tourists’ emails. And if the tourists refuse to share their emails with them, the security personnel can refuse them entry into the country.
The issue came to limelight when the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) sought clarification from the attorney general after a number of such incidents were reported. The response of the attorney general, which came after a few months’ delay, affirmed that the airport security is indeed authorized to exercise such powers.
Naturally, the confirmation from the attorney general’s office has caused quite a stir in the social media. The policy is a stark violation of basic privacy rights of individuals and goes on to show that the pretext of security can often be used to violate such rights.
In his response, the attorney general tried to tone down the issue by claiming that the airport security would demand to read a tourists’ emails only if there are other ‘relevant suspicious signs.’ However, the terms are so ambigious that they can easily be used by authorities to abuse their powers.
The attorney general further claimed, to much ridicule, that a tourists’ emails would be read only with his consent. At the same time, he may face deportation if he refuses to share them.
ACRI’s Lila Margalit slams the policy in these words, “A tourist who has just spent thousands of dollars to travel to Israel, only to be interrogated at the airport by Shin Bet (domestic security) agents and told to grant access to their email account, is in no position to give free and informed consent. Such ‘consent’ — given under threat of deportation — cannot serve as a basis for such a drastic invasion of privacy.”
Courtesy: Security Week