The Clinic on Human Rights in CyberSpace successfully represented two women who suffered from sexual harassment online after a fake profile impersonating them was created on dating sites. Thanks to our letter, “OkCupid” found and blocked one of the profiles. According to OkCupid, they take measures to prevent the reactivation of such a profile. Unfortunately, the Israeli site “TotalChat” has not reply yet. However, our brave client told her story on social networks. A woman who suffered from similar harassments saw her post, contacted her, and they realized the offender is a man they both know. They filed a complaint against him in the police.
The Clinic on Human Rights in Cyberspace together with privacy experts and activists wrote to the Ministry of Health in request to publish the contract between the Ministry, MyHeritage, and BGI to conduct Corona virus tests. The transparency is the first step to ensure sufficient protection to patients’ genetic data and privacy. Read the letter
- Amir Cahane and the Clinic The Clinic on Digital Rights in Cyberspace sent comments to the Ministry of Justice on a Bill proposing to authorize the police to use data locations of cellular networks, in order to uphold the isolation orders. All as part of the efforts to cope with the Corona virus. Our comments focused on the need to set clear boundaries to such exceptional authority and clear transparency mechanisms, and to the usages of such sensitive data.
The Clinic on Digital Rights in Cyberspace alongside other NGOs and activists wrote to the parliament and the government in demand for transparency about the technological surveillance measures that the Israeli General Security Services was authorized to use against citizens, in order to detect those who were in touch with diagnosed with Covid-19 patients. Such invasive measures were never used before. Even if the benefits for public health outweighs the significant privacy harms they cause, such usage must be under strict public and judicial supervision. Read the letters:
1. The authoritzation of The Israeli General Security Services to surveil citizens in regards to Covid-19.
2. The demand for transparency regarding the technological surveillance measures.
3. The governmental legal advisor's response.
- Thanks to the clinic's activity, Moshe Lion, the Mayor of Jerusalem, has unblocked all the people who where blocked from his official pages in social media networks. At the present no one is blocked by him! Read the letter from the city hall: Hebrew
- We are happy to update that an appeal the clinic has submitted on behalf of a client was accepted. Pictures of our client, which imply his sexual orientation, were published online by unknown offender. Thanks to our appeal, the police would resume the investigation. Read the police answer (Hebrew)
- The Clinic & The Freedom of Information Movement wrote to the Cyber unit in the Attorney General’s office in response to their reply for freedom of information request. In their reply, the cyber unit stated they don’t document the content of speech they request social media networks to remove. We argue that they are under a legal duty to document the content of speech they ask to remove, otherwise public supervision of such administrative acts which harm free expression isn’t possible. Read the letter: Hebrew
- The Clinic and The Freedom of Information Movement wrote to Facebook in request of information concerning political content removal in Israel this last year, in which there were three general elections to parliament. We asked for information regarding the amount of political content removals, the amount of profiles that were blocked for posting such content, and information of the content removal procedure and its quality in different languages. Read the letter: Hebrew
- The Clinic on Human Rights in CyberSpace has wrote to the CEO of the Ministry of Transportation, on behalf of Ido Kenan, blogger (Room 404) and podcaster (Cybercyber) and on behalf of “15 minute” - public transportation‘s consumers organization’ in a request to ensure adequate protection to the right to privacy of Israeli public transportation users. Read the Letter here (Hebrew.)
- Happy to update that following our letter, The Knesset Chief Legal Counsel has invited the Clinic on Human Rights in Cyberspace to participate in a public debate concerning the blockage of users from official pages of Knesset Members and Ministers in social networks. Read the letter: Hebrew.
- We are Happy to update that Facebook has answered that the Chen Ziv’s publication of her status that include nude female figures is allowed by their policy. Her blocking was a mistake. Unfortunately, Facebook did not offer any change to its enforcement procedure that would prevent repeating its errors. See more in the article published at Haaretz: Hebrew.
- Why is the blockage of users from official pages of politicians unconstitutional? The reporter Matan Barnir from "Globes" newspaper examines the question and interviews Adv. Dana Yaffe and the clients the clinic represents. Read more here: Hebrew. Watch also the video interview.
- We are happy to update that following the Clinic's letters, the ministers Moshe Kahlon, Eli Cohen and even Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have removed their blockage from Idan de Eretz. We are still representing a few clients who are blocked by Yair Lapid and Benjamin Netanyahu. In the last days we have received many more complaints which we review now. See more here: TheMarker newspaper (Hebrew).
- Following the request we filed on behalf of the Freedom of Information Movement, to join the appeal Facebook has filed against Avi Lan as Amicus Curia and argue that Facebook should be legally obligated to due process and transparency regarding decisions on content moderation – We are happy to update that Israel Attorney General will join the procedure and will submit its position by December 1st. Read the Court's Decision Here (Hebrew).
- The clinic on Human Rights in Cyberspace has wrote to Facebook on behalf of Chen Ziv, an Israeli sculptor who is repeatedly blocked from the social network due to photos of her art which contain female nudity. Her appeals weren't answered. In the past, Facebook has removed famous art work due to nudity, such as the famous painting of Eugène Delacroix. They have changed their policy, and now according to the terms of Facebook art that contain nudity is allowed. Is it though? Read the letter we sent to Facbook (Hebrew).
- Facebook, Black Mirror and the importance of transparency and due process when it comes to decisions on removal of online content. Read the opinion of Dana Yaffe, the clinician of our clinic on human rights in cyberspace, and Rachel Edri-Hulta, the CEO of the Freedom of Information Movement published on TheMarker newspaper (Hebrew, English).
- Last Thursday we had our day at The Israeli Supreme Court – The clinic on behalf of the Freedom of Information Movement asked the Court to let us join an appeal Facebook has filed against Avi Lan, a user of the platform, as Amicus Curiae. We argued that Facebook should be regarded as hybrid body and as such be legally obligated to due process and transparency regarding decisions on content moderation. We are waiting for the court's decision. See more here: TheMarker newspaper (Hebrew).
- Here is the reply we've received from the police to our freedom of information request, for information on the police’s "shaming officer" activities. Apparently, the “shaming officer” submits content removal requests to a designated attorney in the State Attorney’s Office cyber unit, a position that is funded by the police. So far, in 2019, the State Attorney's Office has submitted 24 requests for removal of content that criticize police officers on social networks. The social networks have removed only half of those requests. See the reply here (Hebrew).
- What does a ‘police shaming officer’ do? The Israeli police stated it has appointed a ‘shaming officer’ who helps police officers who were criticized online to conduct civil law suit against citizens. The ‘shaming officer’ also makes requests for removal of content from online platforms. According to the police, such a role is necessary to minimize the phenomenon of "shaming" of police officers online. The Clinic on Human Rights in cyberspace is concerned that important criticism will be labeled as ‘shaming’ and that such a position will create a chilling effect on citizens, who will refrain from posting legal expressions. The clinic sent a request under the Freedom of Information Act (1998), requesting information about the ‘shaming officer’ work procedures and guidelines: Hebrew. We’ll update when the police replies.
When and how can Facebook remove content or block users? The Clinic on Human Rights in Cyberspace and The Movement of Freedom of Information's position is that due to its influence on public discourse Facebook should be regarded as 'hybrid body' (both private and public) that is obligated to due process and transparency towards its users when it comes to content moderation. The clinic has submitted Amicus Curiae on behalf of the Movement to the Supreme Court: Hebrew. We will update after the court hearing on June 20th. Read about it in TheMarker newspaper (Hebrew).
- We are happy to update that the CEO of the National Insurance Institute (NII) has answered the clinic's letter (See January 2019, below) and stated that the NII decided to cancel the Tender to Purchase Online Monitoring Services: Hebrew.
- The Clinic's Postion on blockages by elected officials in social networks: Hebrew. Download the Clinic's letter sample for blocked persons: Hebrew. News Article on the Topic (Hebrew). Facebook Post About the Issue (Hebrew).
- Alongside with fellow civil society organizations, The Clinic on Human Rights in cyberspace wrote to the Head of the Israeli Central Election Committee requesting the appointment of a representative on his behalf who would respond to reports on fake bot networks: Hebrew. News Article on the Topic (Hebrew).
- Letter to the Israeli Minister for Public Transportation on behalf of a social activist, Mr. Yossi Saidov, who was blocked from the minister's official Facebook page after criticizing the minister's policy on the page. We argue that such an act infringes Mr. Saidov's rights to freedom of expression and access to information: Hebrew. Due to our letter, the legal consoler of the minster have informed us that the minister has unblocked Mr. Saidov from his official page on social networks and assured us that posting criticism would not lead to blocking him in the future. See the Minister's Response (Hebrew).
- Letter to the National Insurance Institute (NII) Following the Publication of a Tender to Purchase Online Monitoring Services That Enable It to Monitor Public Discourse on Social Networks, and Public Conduct in Cyberspace in General: Hebrew.
- Position of the Clinic regarding the Proposed Law concerning the Filtering of Websites: The Original Position – English; Hebrew; The Updated Position: English; Hebrew.
- Ale Yarok (Green Leaf) Party v. Facebook – Exhaustion of Proceedings: Hebrew. Interview Regarding the Lawsuit (Hebrew).