Knesset Passes Controversial Biometric Database Bill into Law

Israeli lawmakers have passed a biometric database law to digitally encode personal information of all Israeli residents, including high-quality photos for face recognition and fingerprints. Passed by a vote of 39 to 29 on Monday, February 27, following a fierce debate in the Knesset, the biometric bill, promoted by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, was adopted in the second and third readings. Before the legislation was passed, members of Knesset had to overcome two key issues: one dealing with police access to the database and the second, whether minors would be included in it.


Hadash MK Dov Khenin from the Joint List fraction said that the new act puts Israeli residents under “Big Brother.” According to MK Khenin: “I object in principle because I do not want, and I think no one wants, to live in a society of Big Brother… I oppose this law on a practical level because it is unnecessary, as there is no need for a biometric database if we are using smart cards that can store information without a database.” Before the vote in the Knesset, Karine Nahon, from the Movement for Digital Rights, told Haaretz: “A biometric database is a dramatic act, which could turn Israel into a tracking state and threaten the safety of its citizens.”