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  • ACRI

Using AI in Airport Policing Decisions

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel petitioned the High Court of Justice on May 23, 2024, requesting that it order the police to stop making decisions regarding detaining and searching for drugs, for those returning from abroad, based on an artificial intelligence system. The system, which has been operating at Ben Gurion Airport in recent years, is designed to "predict" which of those returning to Israel may be a drug courier. Based on the creation of a statistical profile from information entered into the system, and its comparison with personal data of passengers arriving at Ben Gurion Airport, the system creates a list of candidates for search. When they arrive in Israel, an alert is sent from the system to the police officer, and the citizen is detained to search for drugs in his belongings and on his body upon arrival.


The petition argued that the system entails real dangers to privacy, human dignity and the right to equality, and that it clashes with basic principles of constitutional, administrative and criminal law. The system is liable to reach arbitrary decisions, whose legality cannot be explained or examined – in contradiction to the rules regarding the manner in which discretion is exercised in sensitive policing decisions. There is also a real concern about making "decisions" based on improper racial profiling and other biases, and the use of the system negates the effective possibility of judicial review when facing discrimination.


Despite the system's enormous potential for human rights abuses, it has been put into police use in secrecy, without public debate and without explicit legislative authorization. The petition noted that the EU already recognizes the dangers of artificial intelligence, and that the artificial intelligence law recently enacted there completely prohibits the use of similar systems in EU territory, or at the very minimum, with strict conditions of its use.


HCJ 4271/24 Association for Civil Rights in Israel v. Israel Police

Attorney: Gil Gan-Mor, Ann Suciu


The petition, May 23, 2024 (Hebrew)


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