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Israel drafts bill to collect sensitive data about airline passengers

Passengers in an aiport [İsa Terli/Anadolu Agency]
Passengers in an aiport [İsa Terli/Anadolu Agency]

The Israeli occupation authorities are drafting a bill to allow them to collect sensitive data from airlines about travellers entering or leaving the country, the Times of Israel has reported. The data collected would include flight details and how tickets were purchased, as well as how much luggage was being carried, the billing address, and whether there are any related charges on their credit cards.

The proposed bill is still at an early stage and has not yet been submitted to the government for approval. According to the newspaper, it is expected to face serious opposition once it reaches the Knesset for a vote, even though its proponents argue that its provisions are in line with standard information collected on passengers in the United States and Europe.

Drafting the bill started some time ago, but it was accelerated during the Covid-19 pandemic as Israel sought to track where passengers were coming from and where they were going in the country. Israel's Justice Ministry, Shin Bet intelligence agency and National Security Council are working on the text.

"The purposes of using the information collected in the database will be determined in the main legislation," the Justice Ministry was reported as saying by the Times of Israel. "These goals will include the fight against terrorism, the fight against serious crime, the security of civil aviation, the fight against illegal immigration and the improvement of border controls, and the protection of public health, in the sense of preventing the spread of epidemics or infections."

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