Activity of the Clinic on Human Rights in Cyberspace

לחצו כאן לקריאה בעברית.

August 2020

  • The Clinic on Human Rights in Cyberspace together with researchers from the Cyber Center sent comments to the memorandum of amendments to the Israeli Data Protection law that was published by the Ministry of Justice. The comments focus on the gaps between the suggested bill and the existing privacy risks in cyberspace, and suggest some manners to bridge those gaps. Read the Comments Document (Hebrew)
  • The Clinic on Human Rights in Cyberspace wrote to the Minister of Justice in request to amend the existing law so that parties’ names on court decisions won’t be published automatically online under certain circumstances. The possibility to find court decisions concerning a person online, simply by searching their name on search engine intensify the harm to their privacy. Therefore, in our opinion, the balance under existing law should be amended. Read the Letter (Hebrew)
  • On Aug. 2nd, the Israeli Supreme Court held a hearing regarding the legality of the procedure of content removal request the Israeli Attorney General Office (AGO) send to Internet Intermediaries. The Clinic on Human Rights in Cyberspace on behalf of the Israeli Freedom of Information Movement has filed an Amicus Curiea brief arguing the AGO acts are far from being transparent. Read our position. The Court ordered the state to specify by the middle of September the legal source to use such authority.

July 2020

  • The Clinic on Digital Rights in CyberSpace wrote to the Minister of Justice requesting him to amend the Israeli Law and to allow class action due to violations of privacy under certain circumstances. During our activity we came to realize that current law doesn’t provide sufficient protection, and unfortunately many victims remain helpless. Class Actions could be an efficient tool to deter from causing such harms.

    Read our letter (Hebrew)

June 2020

  • The Court ruled in favor of The Clinic on Human Rights in CyberSpace and ordered not to publish the name of our client as part of court decisions. Prior to this, searching our client’s name on google lead to court documents that imply he committed violent offences seven years ago.  Only those who take the time to read the decisions carefully can realize he was wrongly accused and the allegations against him were withdrawn by the state.
    Our client was strong enough to create a family and acquire a profession. Yet, seven years later these documents still haunt him, cause him emotional harms and prevent him from move on.  
    The Clinic position is that the online environment increases significantly the harm caused by such publications. The case of our client is a good example. Therefore, the law should be amended to prohibit by default publication of parties names in circumstances such as in the case of our client.
  • The clinic held together with the online legal site “TOLAAT HAMISHPAT” a round table debating the topic. You are welcome to watch here.

May 2020

  • Amir Cahane, Dafna Dror-Shpoliansky  researchers from the Cyber Center and Dana Yaffe from the Clinic The Clinic on Digital Rights in Cyberspace sent comments to the Ministry of Prime minister on a Bill proposing to authorize the Secret Services to use data locations and contact details of cellular networks, in order to detect people who were near Covid19 patients. All as part of the efforts to cope with the Corona virus. We argue that at this point there is no need for such invasive authorizations that violate basic human rights in Israel. In addition, we are under the impression that less invasive technologies were not considered thoroughly enough. Read the comments: Hebrew.

  • The clinic on Digital Rights in Cyberspace has wrote to the CEO of the National Insurance Institute (NII) following their reply in which they state that NII investigators use manual surveillance of social media discourse as part of their investigations. Such acts violate the rights to freedom of speech, privacy, access to information and access to administrative procedures. We argue that the NII is not authorize to use such measures under existing law. In addition, we offer some guidelines for the use of these measures, to minimize the harms they cause, and facilitates public supervision. Read the letter: Hebrew.

  • The clinic on Digital Rights in Cyberspace has filed a request on behalf of Freedom of Information Movement to join a petition as Amicus Curiae at the Supreme Court. Adalah and The Association for Civil Rights in Israel who filed the petition argue that the Cyber Unit at the Attorney General office is not authorize to request internet intermediaries to remove content that was posted by third parties online. We join this argument and elaborate on the lack of transparency of the procedures of such requests. The lack of sufficient transparency portrays both the state and the intermediaries. Read the request: Hebrew.

March 2020

  • 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: Hebrew.

  • 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.

February 2020

  • 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.

January 2020

  • 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.

December 2019

  • 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, Read the Ministry of Transportation Response here: Hebrew.

September 2019

  • 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.

August 2019

  • 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.

July 2019

  • 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.

June 2019

  • 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.

May 2019

  • 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.

March 2019

  • 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.

February 2019

  • 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.

January 2019

  • 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.

December 2018

  • 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.


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