MK Meir Sheetrit (currently in Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua party) has been trying to foist various biometric bills onto the citizens of Israel, with the information to be stored in a national database.
In 2009, Meir Sheetrit (sometimes spelled Meir Shitreet) managed to pass a bill in the Knesset to get the national database set up and run by the Ministry of the Interior.
But it was in 2005, before it was even allowed by law, that then Minister of Transportation Sheetrit set up and implemented a government image biometric database.
According to the Israel Democracy Institute, legislation allowing for this database (which is in use with your driver license) still hasn’t been passed in the Knesset.
Last year, trials began with Sheetrit’s “smart Teudat Zehut” program – an opt-in program trying to convince Israelis to trust the government with their biometric data.
Despite the supposed infallibility of the system, already at the beginning of the trial, two brothers managed to acquire the same identity in the system. The mistake was noticed by the father.
While there are Israelis participating in the program, the majority of Israelis are choosing to not opt-in when renewing their passports or Teudat Zehuts (IDs).
In 2014, officers in the Mossad, Shabak and IDF, warned that the database is not sufficiently secure from hackers – and that it was a very inviting target.
But even if it was secure from hackers, your personal biometric information is not secure from your own government, and your information could possibly be legally shared with the police and other “relevant authorities” and used to track you.
But even that biometric database law isn’t enough for our resident Big Brother MK.
In 2014, Sheetrit began trying to establish a genetic database of all babies born in Israel.
Blood samples would be taken from newborns, purportedly for early detection of diseases (so the government could know what’s wrong with you), and your baby’s DNA data would then be stored in a national database, this time managed by the Ministry of Health.
The government would store your baby’s genetic data for at least 5 years – with the government having the option to extend the storage if they want to (and who exactly would want to delete such important and legally-difficult-to-obtain-again information?).
Sheetrit’s proposal passed its first reading in the Science and Technology Committee in July 2014.
Last week, on the last day of the Knesset, before the Knesset voted to dissolve itself, Sheetrit tried to push this bill in, according to the Knesset Channel.
This proposed law is even sneakier than his last one.
Participation by your baby in the newborn genetic database is automatic.
Your baby’s DNA will be scanned and stored, unless you opt-out — in writing, in advance, but apparently only after the baby is born, around the time when the doctors are examining your baby.
Because — opting out of a “Big Brother” database, when you’re being told the sample is being taken for health reasons, and you may be signing other consent forms, is exactly what every newborn’s emotionally-overwhelmed parents are thinking about at that exact moment.
It’s not clear why Meir Sheetrit has been pushing so hard to implement citizen tracking programs, but what is clear is that Sheetrit could have stepped right out of 1984.