Israel upholds checks on tourists' email accounts before entry
Earnest April 25, 2013
Media TEL AVIV—Israeli officials at
Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv say they have been authorized to continue
demanding access to tourists' email accounts and to deny them entry if
Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein confirmed the authorization on
Wednesday in a written response to the Association for Civil Rights in
Israel (ACRI), which had asked for clarification back in June 2012.
ACRI cited the document as saying that the practice was limited to
cases where "relevant suspicious signs" were evident and only done with
the tourists’ "consent".
However, the attorney general's office noted, “It will be made clear
to him that his refusal will be taken into consideration along with
other relevant factors, in deciding whether to allow him entry," the
rights group added.
This follows an uproar last year when tourists were ordered to open
their e-mails after hours of interrogation and two Palestinian-American
women were consequently denied entry.
ACRI's attorney for criminal justice issues condemned the policy as a
"drastic invasion of privacy," and mocked the notion of “consent” while
refusal could result in expulsion.
Tourists, who are interrogated at the airport and whose email
accounts are accessed by security forces, are “in no position to give
free and informed consent,” Lila Margalit stated.
"Such 'consent' -- given under threat of deportation --
cannot serve as a basis for such a drastic invasion of privacy," she