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Israeli High Court Enjoins Disclosure of Personal Data of Unvaccinated Individuals to Local Authorities

Publications / Mar 31, 2021

Article written by Haim Ravia and Dotan Hammer

The Supreme Court of Israel issued a preliminary injunction against the Israeli Ministry of Health (“MoH”), ordering it not to disclose personal data of individuals not vaccinated for COVID-19 to local authorities and the Ministries of Education and Labor. The injunction was issued against a legislative amendment passed by the Knesset (the Israeli legislature) ten days earlier. The amendment authorizes the MoH to disclose this information to local authorities and the Ministries of Education and Labor so that they can encourage COVID-19 vaccination.

The Court also ordered the government to submit court briefs explaining why the amendment should not be invalidated due to an unconstitutional violation of the right to privacy. The Court also moved the case to an extended seven-justice panel, instead of the ordinary three-justice panel.

Before issuing the injunction, the original panel held preliminary oral arguments on the High Court of Justice petition filed by the Israeli Civil Rights Association. The justices criticized the government for not first exhausting the less intrusive alternative of having the Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) tasked with encouraging COVID-19 vaccination, given that they are in lawful possession of the personal data of individuals not vaccinated and are better suited to perform this task.

Amid the Court’s injunction, the MoH indicated that it would look into the possibility of leveraging the HMOs to encourage COVID-19 vaccination. At the same time, the MoH also issued a proposed procedure for the transfer of personal data of individuals not vaccinated for COVID-19 to local authorities, and for the local authorities’ subsequent use of that information to contact unvaccinated individuals and encourage them to receive the vaccine.

CLICK HERE to read the Israeli Supreme Court’s preliminary injunction (in Hebrew).

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