Privacy Advisor

Global Privacy Dispatches- Israel Privacy Infringement

GLOBAL PRIVACY DISPATCHES

October 1, 2009

By Dan Or-Hof, CIPP

A Haifa court recently heard a dispute between a well-known graphologist’s company and a software- and hardware-services provider. During the discovery process, the defendants presented three screenshots of the plaintiff's e-mail inbox. The plaintiff argued that the defendants penetrated their servers without permission, and by doing so violated the plaintiff's right to privacy and performed an unlawful wiretap. In dismissing the complaint, the court ruled that the Protection of Privacy Act protects only natural persons. Since the plaintiff was not a natural person, there was no privacy infringement. The court further ruled that when a certain e-mail message arrives at the computer of the addressee, the 'journey' of the message ends, and at that point it ceases as a conversation and transforms into a stored file. Consequently, the court ruled that an attempt to access a stored file without permission cannot constitute an unlawful wiretap.