TEL AVIV (Realist English). The Israeli counterintelligence service Shabak uses the database obtained from mobile communication companies to spy on journalists in both criminal and state security-related investigations. This is reported by Middle East Eye with reference to the newspaper Haaretz.
Using the database, Shin Bet can determine where a journalist is based on the location of his mobile phone, as well as who he talked to and for how long.
On October 20, the Supreme Court received a petition from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), which calls for removing from the law the clause regulating the activities of counterintelligence in terms of the obligation of a mobile communications company to provide the agency with information about every call or message passing through their system.
At the same time, the data collected by mobile operators have been stored in the counterintelligence database for the past two decades.
The case concerns a 2002 law that regulates mainly secret Shin Bet operations that are not subject to public control. Article 11 states that the use of data must be approved in advance by the head of the Shin Bet, who is obliged to report on it to the Prime Minister and the Prosecutor General every three months, as well as once a year to the relevant Knesset commission.
ACRI believes that the article contradicts the constitution, since the permission specified in it is not explicit and detailed, as is required in the case of invasion of privacy, and that such permission goes beyond what is required for state security.
Human rights activists also reminded that there is no mechanism to protect people with professional inviolability, such as journalists, and the decisions of the head of the Shabak and the Prime Minister are not subject to judicial supervision. That is, the current control mechanisms are not enough.