Data Protection and Privacy in Israel
The Basic Laws of Israel that comprise the county’s constitution specifically grant Israel’s citizens the right to privacy as a basic human right. This practice note provides an overview of the regulation of data protection and privacy in Israel, presented in a question and answer format.
• Question 1: Summarize the legislative framework for the protection of personally identifiable information (PII). Does your jurisdiction have a dedicated data protection law? Have any international instruments on privacy or data protection been adopted in your jurisdiction?
(a) Every person has a right to privacy and to intimacy in his life.
Data Protection Authority
• Question 2: Which authority is responsible for overseeing the data protection law? Describe the investigative powers of the authority.
Answer: The Privacy Protection Authority oversees compliance with the provisions of the Privacy Law and acts as Israel’s Registrar of Databases. For this purpose, the Privacy Protection Authority is authorized to:
• Demand that any person or entity provide it with information and documents relating to a database
Breaches of Data Protection
• Question 3: Can breaches of data protection lead to administrative sanctions or orders, or criminal penalties? How would such breaches be handled?
Answer: The Privacy Protection Authority has the authority to enforce the Privacy Law as follows:
• Database registration. If the owner of a database breaches any provision of the Privacy Law, or does not comply with any demand made by the Privacy Protection Authority, the Privacy Protection Authority is entitled to postpone the validity of registration of the database for a period that the Privacy Protection Authority determines, or to cancel the registration of the database, provided that an opportunity was given to the owner of the database to present its claims.
Rights protected under criminal law are enforced by the Israeli Police, State Attorneys, and the Privacy Protection Authority (which functions as the legal branch of the State Attorney with respect to privacy matters), and later reviewed by the judicial system.
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