New issues are surfacing in the Israeli police surveillance scandal. The IRS is halting its facial recognition plans. The regulatory headwinds are the prevailing winds.


In one look.

  • New issues are surfacing in the Israeli police surveillance scandal.
  • The IRS is halting its facial recognition plans.
  • The regulatory headwinds are the prevailing winds.

New revelations in the Israeli police surveillance scandal.

A new report from the Calcalist, the outlet that originally denounced allegations that Israeli police used NSO Group’s controversial Pegasus surveillance software to spy on Israeli citizens, has added to the growing list of alleged victims, claiming that the spyware had been found on the devices of politicians, chief executives of ministries, businessmen, protest leaders, mayors and journalists. CNN Remarks that while previous allegations focused on police using the spyware without proper authorization, the new allegations highlight how widespread the surveillance was, targeting people who were not suspected of criminal activity.

Hours after the report, Israel’s Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev announced that he was calling for the creation of a government inquiry commission “to thoroughly investigate the violation of civil rights and their lives. private during the years in question”. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett replied: “This tool and similar tools are important tools in the fight against terrorism and serious crime, but they were not intended for use in phishing campaigns targeting the public or Israeli officials – that’s why we need to understand exactly what happened.” Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai is pushing for an independent, external judicial review committee to investigate the allegations “in order to restore public confidence in the Israel Police on the one hand and to regulate the use of technologies in the Israel Police on the other.” Ayelet Shaked, who served as Minister of Justice between 2015 and 2019, Recount The Times of Israel, she was unaware that police were using the spyware during her tenure. “It’s unthinkable in a democracy, we’re going to amend the wiretapping law.”

Reuters reports that the alleged targets included several people linked to former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is currently on trial for corruption. The court postponed the proceedings of the trial, dubbed Case 4000, pending more information from the prosecution on the hacking charges. Ha’aretz discuss Netanyahu’s role in Pegasus’ rise to popularity. During his tenure as prime minister, he greased the wheels of the Persian Gulf Pegasus purchase deals and diplomacy, while he was supposedly unaware that his country’s police were using the spyware to target Israeli citizens, and possibly to gather information against him.

IRS halts facial recognition system plans.

After facing bipartisan criticism over privacy concerns, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is backtracking on its plan to use a private facial recognition system to authenticate taxpayer identities for access to online accounts, according to the Wall Street Journal. reports. IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said, “Everyone should feel comfortable with how their personal information is secured, and we are quickly looking for short-term options that don’t involve recognizing facial”. A company called had already started providing the identity verification system for people to set up accounts online through the IRS website, and the IRS had announced its intention to require the system. facial recognition for all online accounts this summer. In a letter to Rettig last week, a group of Senate Republicans said the system posed a privacy and cybersecurity threat, explaining, “The IRS has unilaterally decided to allow an outside contractor to act as a gatekeeper between citizens and necessary government services. And yesterday, a group of Democratic lawmakers Published a press release urging the IRS to halt the plans. “Any government agency operating a facial recognition technology system — or contracting with a third party — creates potential risks of privacy breaches and abuse,” they wrote. “We urge the IRS to end this plan and consult with a wide range of stakeholders before deciding on an alternative.” Many privacy experts have expressed concerns about the security risks inherent in using biometric technology for authentication. As Jeramie D. Scott, senior counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Recount The Washington Post, “Facial recognition technology is based on your face and that’s something you can’t easily change. Once you lose control of it, it’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to regain control. of your identity.

Lecio DePaula Jr., vice president of data protection at KnowBe4, sees the now-suspended plans as a privacy faux pas:

“Requiring U.S. citizens to submit government-issued identification along with a video for verification on the IRS portal is extremely privacy-intrusive, as this data would then be stored and processed by the third-party contractor – who can use data for a variety of other purposes (potentially sharing with law enforcement). This is one of those cases where the end doesn’t justify the means. The portal can be just as secure by pulling leveraged strong password requirements as well as two-factor authentication for end users, which is a much cheaper, less intrusive and unbiased way to secure the portal without the need for a third party. hope the portal starts moving in the right direction because once one government agency adopts a standard, others start to follow If the United States had a strong privacy law that protected individuals’ biometric information, the situation would be different. However, without any protection of US citizen data, adopting this technology on this scale would be a privacy malpractice.

Tim Erlin, vice president of strategy, at Tripwire, and considers the canceled plans to be ill-conceived and unnecessarily inflammatory:

“Facial recognition technology is polarizing in general, and for many, the idea of ​​the government trusting a third party to handle this personal data is unacceptable. For many others, the concept that the government itself has facial recognition data is equally unacceptable.

“It is clear that there are a number of potential and unresolved issues with the selected supplier. Although the immediate focus is on stopping the process, time must be spent on how a supplier has been selected with all these apparent problems.”

Windy weather forecast for adtech regulations.

Meta, the tech giant formerly known as Facebook, described future hurdles as “regulatory headwinds,” and TechCrunch offers their views on what this vague term means. The company has a long history of using questionable policies to track user activity and turn user data into advertising dollars, and it seems Meta is aware that the regulatory gray areas they benefit from may soon become more black and white. Just last week, the Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe was given two months to revamp the European advertising industry’s flagship tool, the Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF), which has proven to block users with targeted advertisements without proper consent. This is just one indication of the rapidly changing industry privacy regulations that have allowed companies like Meta and Alphabet/Google to get away with simply telling users about ad tracking without asking them. permission. As this digital advertising accounts for 98% of Meta’s revenue and 81% of Alphabet’s, these policies work in their favor, but the changing winds of regulation and transparency could end the era of adtech.

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