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State prosecutors on Wednesday asked the Tel Aviv District Court for an
injunction declaring it a criminal offense for Israelis to download or keep
copies of a stolen Population Registry database.
request came after the district attorney filed indictments on Sunday against six
people in connection with the massive data theft, in which a Welfare and Social
Services Ministry contractor allegedly stole a database containing personal
details of nine million Israelis, including deceased people and those living
Prosecutors allege the contractor, Shalom Bilik, passed the
stolen data to a haredi organization to be used for fund-raising
purposes. Other defendants allegedly received and sold the data,
including as a searchable database, which spread around the world after someone
uploaded it to the Internet.
Although the district attorney served
indictments in the case, concern remains that the data is still being used and
disseminated via the Web.
The State Attorney’s Office believes that
thousands of Israelis are using the stolen data, which is is available for
download on websites and file-sharing sites hosted abroad, including in the form
of a database named “Agron,” allegedly created by Moshe Moskovitz, one of the
District Attorney Moshe Marciano and attorney Haim Vismunsky
from the State Attorney’s Office asked the court to issue an order stating that
downloading or possessing copies of all or part of the stolen Population
Registry data violates the Privacy Law.
Such an order would be a public
declaration that anyone who holds the stolen data is committing a criminal
offense and is at risk of criminal investigation and
According to the State Attorney’s Office, the defendants’
alleged actions are exacerbated by the fact that the data is still freely
That is because the significant damage caused by releasing the
sensitive information onto the Internet is “largely irreparable,” the State
Attorney’s Office said.
Although the scope of the theft in this case is
unprecedented, in one previous criminal trial the Tel Aviv District Court ruled
to prohibit the distribution of stolen data that judges deemed as harmful to a
In that case, in 2005, married couple Ruth and
Michael Haephrati were found guilty of developing a type of computer malware
dubbed a “Trojan Horse” and using it to spy on a PC belonging to thriller writer
Amnon Jackont. Several private investigators were also convicted in the case,
which also involved theft of large amounts of data from dozens of companies.