Written by Haim Ravia and Dotan Hammer
The Knesset (the Israeli parliament) has approved the first reading of a legislative bill to allow the surreptitious collection of personal and sensitive information from passengers of flights entering and leaving Israel. The bill will allow the state to collect Passenger Name Records (PNR), which include, among other things, the mobile phone number, e-mail address, airfare payment method, invoice delivery address, travel dates, itinerary, baggage data, travel history, and other data that appears in the passenger’s travel documents.
The purpose of the legislation is to implement the state’s obligation to collect and analyze such data. These obligations aim to help prevent, detect, investigate, and prosecute terrorist offenses and serious crimes. They arise from a U.N. Security Council’s Resolution and the binding standards and recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
According to the bill’s explanatory notes, Israel does not routinely accept or analyze API (Advanced Passenger Information) and PNR data, except as part of a pilot program of the Population and Immigration Authority. Receiving this data as the bill proposes would have “obvious advantages” for Israel, such as compliance with international standards; receiving actionable information about passengers as early as 48 hours before their departure, to identify passengers that may pose a security risk; preventing suspects from boarding a flight and arriving in or leaving Israel; improving airport security and the efficiency of existing inspection procedures; improving the preparedness of the Ministry of Health in dealing with communicable diseases that risk public health.
Click here to read the full bill (In Hebrew).