Privacy Advisor

Global Privacy Dispatches- Israel- Twinning Program

October 1, 2008

By Dan Or-Hof, CIPP

Israel to launch data protection twinning program

The Israeli privacy and data protection authority (ILITA) has launched a collaborative program with the Spanish data protection authority. The twinning program aims to strengthen the effective protection of personal data in Israel by developing ILITA's operational and effective enforcement capabilities, with the goal of bringing them in line with international standards and those set out in the EU data protection directive.

The program is an outcome of Israel's high interest in having an adequate level of data protection in compliance with Article 25(6) of the EU directive. In July 2007, Israel applied to the European Commission to be officially acknowledged as offering an adequate level of personal data protection. Furthermore, early in 2005, the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council adopted a decision to mandate Europol to negotiate a joining agreement with Israel. Europol is currently assessing Israel's data protection legislation and such recognition of Israel's sufficient level of data protection may support the process.

The twinning project consists of three components. The first is the enhancement of ILITA's competencies through the development and implementation of a personal data protection strategy plan, as well as enhancing ILITA's effective regulatory powers. The second is enforcement enhancement through staff training in complaint handling and streamlining ILITA's complaint-handling procedures, as well as through setting in place investigative and relevant intelligence capabilities. The third involves increasing awareness among data controllers, data subjects, policymakers, lawmakers and the general public about the importance of personal data protection, and increasing adherence to personal data protection legislation.

The Spanish data protection agency won the EU tender to lead the twinning project. Spanish and other data protection experts employed by the Spanish DPA will provide guidance, consultancy and training services to ILITA's personnel. The program is scheduled to begin later this year, and is expected to run through February 2010.

Dan Or-Hof is a senior counsel at Pearl Cohen Zedek and Latzer LLP, with specific expertise in data protection and privacy law. He may be reached at