Teudat Zehut, Israeli ID card 370.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee approved changes to the
Population Registry regulations on Wednesday – including regarding the issuance
of planned new “smart” electronic ID cards.
The approval gives the green
light for the Population Registry to begin a two-year pilot of the smart ID
cards in the near future.
Under the proposals, citizens receiving a smart
ID card will also be given a personal password granting access to read data
stored on the card’s electronic chip. That password can be changed, should a
citizen request it.
Civil rights attorneys have criticized the smart ID
card proposals, particularly plans to include biometric data such as
fingerprints, on the cards.
Opponents of the biometric ID card plans,
including attorney Avner Pinchuk from the Association for Civil Rights in
Israel, have warned of “irreversible damage” should Israelis’ biometric data,
including fingerprints, be leaked.
ACRI says such a leak could greatly
increase the risk of identity theft, and that this is a particular concern in
the wake of a massive Population Registry data theft.
Six people have
been indicted over the data theft, in which a Welfare and Social Services
Ministry computer contractor allegedly stole personal data on 9 million Israelis
and sold it to a haredi organization. The data ended up freely available
for download on the Internet.
As well as approving new regulations for
smart ID cards, the Knesset Law Committee also gave the green light to
regulations for the current “low-tech” ID cards.
One of the approved
regulations stipulates that all ID cards will be valid for 10 years, after which
citizens must renew their cards.
Current ID cards will also expire in 10
MK Uri Maklev (United Torah Judaism) opposed the move, arguing
that it would be harder for the public, and particularly for elderly people, to
have to renew their ID cards every decade.
“It would be a burden for
elderly people to have to stand in line to renew their ID cards,” Maklev said,
and called on the Interior Ministry to help elderly people by running a mobile
unit to issue ID cards.
Maklev also opposed plans for a 24-hour,
seven-day a week Interior Ministry service center, arguing that this would
violate Shabbat and Jewish holidays.
The committee also approved adding
new personal information to the main body of ID cards.
registered as of “no religion” and who chose to marry under the partnership
covenant law will be recorded on their ID cards as a “partner in a partnership
New ID cards will also record the ID numbers of a person’s
spouse and those of any children, as well as the name of the person’s
Where appropriate and if a parent requests it, the ID card
will record that a child has died and state the date of death.