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Israeli Population Authority Unlawfully Transferred Biometric Data

Publications / May 30, 2022

Written by Haim Ravia and Dotan Hammer

A recent report by the Biometric Applications Commissioner reveals that the Population and Immigration Authority has been unlawfully transferring millions of facial images of Israeli residents to an unnamed public agency over the past seven years. According to the report, the facial images were transferred as part of ongoing work processes in the border control system. While the recipient agency remains unnamed, the Population Authority indicated that it was the only body to whom it transferred the biometric data. The Population Authority ceased the transfer immediately upon the commissioner’s request.

The report also recognizes recent technological improvements that enable biometric processing of lower-quality images. Therefore, the facial images stored in reduced quality in both the Population Registry and Border Control’s systems must now be considered biometric-enabled images, and their storage, therefore, amounts to unlawful biometric databases. While the Population Authority is working to formulate a permanent solution to the issue, the Commissioner demanded that it implement control measures to enhance the security of the databases in the interim.

CLICK HERE to read the Biometric Applications Commissioner’s Report (No. 12) from May 18th, 2022) (in Hebrew).

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