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Israeli Regulator Issues Guidelines on National ID Cards and Digital Health Data

Client Updates / Apr 01, 2024

Written by: Haim Ravia and Dotan Hammer

The Israeli Privacy Protection Authority (PPA) has published an opinion regarding the collection of national ID cards and numbers, addressing the common business practice of requiring consumers to provide their national ID numbers and, in some cases, a photograph of the national ID card, for services like courier deliveries.

The opinion outlines the PPA’s position on the legitimacy and legality of these practices, given the sensitivity and breadth of the information involved. The PPA emphasizes that an ID number is considered “information” under the Privacy Protection Law because it is a unique identifier for an individual that can be used to access further personal information.

According to the opinion, photos of national ID cards should only be required in rare cases of clear necessity. In these cases, only the front of the card should be copied, to protect the especially sensitive information found on the back of the card. More generally, alternative, less invasive methods for identity verification should be preferred.

The PPA also issued a policy document on the protection of patient privacy amid the digital transmission of medical data, directed to health organizations and providers. This document highlights the sensitivity of medical information and the PPA’s intent to enforce legal measures against violations of the privacy law.

The PPA discourages unauthorized sensitive data transfers by healthcare employees and advises against the use of non-specialized apps (like Telegram, WhatsApp, Gmail, and Signal) to send identifiable medical information.

The PPA also advises to refrain from using open Wi-Fi networks for data transmissions. The PPA encourages the adoption of secure systems, the use of designated devices by healthcare employees, and privacy impact assessments when planning information systems.

Click here to read the PPA’s opinion on national ID numbers and cards (In Hebrew).

Click here to read the PPA’s policy document about the protection of patient privacy when transferring medical information through digital means (In Hebrew).