Privacy Advisor

ISRAEL—New draft guidelines on use of surveillance cameras

February 1, 2012

By Dan Or-Hof, CIPP/US

ILITA makes headlines again. On December 6, 2011, during a session of the Israeli parliament’s (Knesset) science committee that was dedicated to mark the international human rights day, the Israeli Law Information and Technology Authority (ILITA) announced new proposed guidelines on the use and deployment of surveillance cameras.

In its press release, ILITA describes the need for the guidelines, following a substantial increase in private initiatives to deploy surveillance cameras, including in sensitive areas such as schools, as well as the vast use of cameras by 80 local municipalities as part of the governmental "City without violence" project.

ILITA further explains that surveillance cameras have significant influence over the public sphere due to availability of advanced images retrieval, analysis and indexing capabilities

The proposed guidelines require following the basic principles of information privacy when using surveillance cameras. Inter-alia, they require a methodical process of decision-making about the actual need to deploy cameras, and the way the cameras will be deployed, while taking into consideration the need to mitigate privacy violations (e.g., by reducing the number of cameras and the areas covered by the cameras to minimum).

ILITA further suggests that the use of the images will be restricted to the original purpose for deploying the cameras and that extra caution should be taken when using cameras in sensitive places, especially where the cameras cover children's activities. The proposed guidelines also require the raising of public awareness about the cameras through appropriate signs and to use information security measures to prevent data breaches and unlawful use of the images.

Both private and public entities will be covered by the guidelines, and failure to adhere to the guidelines after their final version is released may result in monetary sanctions and criminal charges.

ILITA seeks the public position on the proposed guidelines until December 29, 2011.

A copy of the guidelines (in Hebrew) is available on ILITA's website.

Dan Or-Hof, CIPP/US, is a New-York and Israeli attorney, a partner and the manager of the IT, Copyright and Internet team at Pearl Cohen Zedek Latzer, with specific practice in data protection and privacy law.