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  • ACRI

Stop the Use of Spyware by the Police and Shin Bet

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and the Clinic for Privacy at Tel Aviv University filed a petition with the Supreme Court on September 5, 2023, requesting the cessation of the use of spyware by the police and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) under the Wiretapping Law.

Spyware is covertly installed on an individual's computer or mobile phone, allowing the operator of the spyware access to the device's system and stored data. Its usage includes real-time call and message interception, searching all data on the device, accessing information within applications (such as bank accounts and medical records), and real-time control of the device, including adding or deleting content. Globally, spyware has been known to be employed for political purposes and to target dissenting voices.

Spyware breaches human rights, including the right to privacy, freedom, and due process, and the extent of intrusion under its usage far exceeds that of regular wiretapping. Therefore, the organizations filing the petition argue that its use cannot be authorized without explicit legislation and should not rely on a broad interpretation of the Wiretapping Law, enacted decades ago, or internal regulations of the police and the Shin Bet. The debate on whether law enforcement agencies should be allowed to use spyware is a complex, ideological, political, and technological one, requiring deliberation within the legislative body, following an extensive and public discussion.

Case No. 6604/23: The Association for Civil Rights in Israel vs. the Commissioner of the Israel Police

Attorneys: Gil Gan-Mor (Association for Civil Rights), Noa Diamond (Clinic for Privacy at Tel Aviv University)

The Petition (Hebrew)

The petition was written with the help of students Rimon Weiss and Oded Efraimov and intern Hila Sharon

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