The Israeli government intends to approve next week a reform that would require every citizen to give the Interior Ministry his or her cellphone number and email address, with the objective of improving the quality of postal delivery.
The proposition is part of the Economic Arrangements Law, which is an addendum to the annual state budget, and will require an amendment to the Population Registry Law.
According to a draft obtained by Haaretz, six months after the amendment is passed, any person who takes action at the Population Registry – such as issuing a new passport – would be required to share this information. However, a refusal to do so would not carry punitive measures. The clerk would verify the information, and the citizen could ask not to be sent any information, barring that pertaining to emergencies.
According to the draft, public bodies would have access to the information in order to send mail. These include government offices, the military, the police and the Knesset. The draft does not include sanctions for improper use of the information. Private investigators already have access to the Population Registry’s database, and political parties receive a copy of it in every election.
The information that appears in the Population Registry – including names, addresses and ID numbers – has leaked in bulk several times in the past. In February, the information leaked three times after the Likud party uploaded the full register of voters to an app, causing the leak of personal data on 6,453,254 citizens.
In 2006, a contractor for the Welfare Ministry stole the entire Population Registry, and the details later leaked online.
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The Economic Arrangement Law comprises several laws and amendments that the government passes every year alongside the state budget. It is meant to green light in a simplified manner a long list of laws that reflect the government’s economic policy, which may not pass in a regular legislative process.