(JNS.org) Foreign citizens visiting Israel may be asked to open their email
accounts for airport security when they land at Ben Gurion Airport, the Israeli Attorney-General’s Office stated Wednesday in response to
a petition by a leading Israeli civil rights group.

Security checks at Ben Gurion airport. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

“The threat of using foreign citizens for terrorist
purposes is a growing trend,” the Attorney-General’s Office warned, in a
missive to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, which had petitioned the
Israeli Justice Ministry to overrule such security measures over concerns that
they were invasive and against Israeli law. “Searching an email account is to
be carried out in exceptional cases only after suspicious or pertinent
information has been identified.”

Though the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) can request
access to an email account before the passenger passes customs and leaves the
airport, it cannot demand passwords or personal information that would allow
the agency itself to access private accounts. Rather, Shin Bet staff may ask
the traveler to open his or her account in view of security personnel, who can
then check emails for incriminating evidence that may be relevant to issues of
public or national security, wrote lawyer Nadim Avod on behalf of the
Attorney-General’s Office.

In addition, the traveler can refuse access to his or her
personal email to security personnel, but Shin Bet agents at Ben-Gurion airport
can consequently deny the traveler entry to Israel. Avod cited the law of entry
to Israel, written in 1952, which states that a foreigner does not have the
explicit right to enter the country. The relevant authorities decide who can
enter and who cannot, and in such cases of exceptional suspicion, access to
private email may be required.

…read more
Source: JNS.org


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