Stop Watching, Big Brother

It is time to tell the public: No more - don't give in to the insufferable invasion of our lives.

The Public Security Ministry wants to know where you are right now, the head of the Shin Bet security service wants to know what you did yesterday and the head of the Mossad wants to know whom you met overseas. Soon their outrageous wishes will be granted.

After approving the establishment of a police-run telephone call database, the cabinet this week also passed the biometric information law, which would establish a database of the population's fingerprints and, even worse, photographs. The path is a short one to harsher tools in the war on crime and terror, such as a DNA database of all citizens. Following this, why not try implanting electronic chips in everyone's rear ends? Like pets or prisoners on furlough.

In this way, the authorities will always know where we are. No more fake alibis, escaped prisoners, missing persons, terror or even forbidden relations. Big Brother will always know everything.

Have we become Pakistan or Yemen? No democracy collects fingerprints from its citizens. Even the unenlightened United States, which has seriously toughened it war on terror, has not dared to go this far - only Israel.

The cabinet deviously used its intentions to issue sophisticated new ID cards, a legitimate matter, to disguise establishing a fingerprint and picture database, something completely illegitimate. Along with its twin brother, the DNA database, every citizen will be turned into a potential criminal.

A robbery at the local grocery store? We were there, we are suspects. A rape at the club? We were there, we are marked. And after the decisive evidence is found, just try proving your innocence: You only went to the store to buy ketchup, or only went out to enjoy a night at the club. But evidence was found at the scene of the crime. From now on, we will all stand accused, unless we can prove otherwise.

These are delicate and sensitive checks and balances, which only a true democracy knows how to protect. Everyone wants to eradicate crime and prevent terror, but not at any price. There is a price that a healthy society will not agree to pay: destroying human rights and personal freedom.

Even if we have known unbearable decrees in the past, such as "permission to travel abroad," which went on for years without any public protest, extending to eavesdropping on a terrifying level, we have already done more than enough damage to democracy in the name of "security."

They search through our bags, ask us intolerable questions at the airport and now we are taking another step toward the abyss.

It is particularly frightening in light of the possibility that all these databases may one day be available to an even more extreme and dangerous government. It is time to tell the ruling powers: Enough is enough - you already know too much, so hands off. The excuse that they already know a lot from our credit cards and cellular phones is a joke. This is precisely the reason not to let them know any more.

It is also time to tell the public: No more - don't give in to the insufferable invasion of our lives. Raise the cry of revolt. At least a small and influential group should say no. Let the police fight crime, let the Shin Bet fight terror - but leave us in peace. We don't want to tell you who packed our bags, and we don't want you to know where we were yesterday.