Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has backed a security practice permitting agents at the airport to open the email accounts of arriving visitors for security purposes when such a move is deemed necessary. Despite many protests accusing the state of invasion of privacy, Weinstein maintains the practice is necessary towards preventing terrorists from entering the country. Weinstein told representatives of ACRI (Association for Civil Rights in Israel) that one wishing to enter the country has the right to refuse to permit agents to view email, but this would be taken into consideration prior to granting them entry into the country.
Those opposed to the policy explain it is used in a discriminatory fashion, primarily against Muslims as part of an effort to prevent pro-Palestinian activists from entering the country.
Justice Ministry officials explain the email invasion is only done in extraordinary cases and it is far from becoming a standard practice, but it does permit security agents to access another level of information regarding suspected terrorists.
Ynet reports that while a country like Germany does not permit such an inspection, America’s Department of Homeland Security has been known to confiscate computers for inspection from people arriving in the US.
ACRI representatives insist the inspections only target people heading to PA (Palestinian Authority) autonomous areas or Muslim appearing travelers and therefore, it should be declared illegal.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)