By KTA New Team |

Several international airlines, including British Airways and Iberia, are opposing the Israeli government’s plan to create a database that would collect data of all passengers departing and entering Israel.

The database would include the passenger’s personal information, such as names, addresses, mobile phone numbers, email addresses, credit card numbers, passport details, check-in details, points of departure, destination of the flight, and more.

The companies claim that the proposed law violates passengers’ privacy and contravenes international law. The regulations allow for more than 30 types of personal data to be provided, while the European standard is less than 20. Notably, the European standard doesn’t require information about a passenger’s gender, date of birth, country of nationality, or travel document details, unlike Israel’s regulations. Even compared to the accepted standardization in the United States, Israel’s regulations are considered a deviation from the norm. The controversy raises questions about the need for such extensive personal data collection and the potential impact on passenger privacy.

The European Union’s GDPR is one of the regulations that the proposed law contradicts, according to the airlines. The airlines also claim that Israel is requiring more types of personal data than other countries and that the requirement to contact passengers and inform them in writing of the transfer of information imposes additional difficulty and awkwardness on the airlines.

Additionally, the companies claim that about 80% of flight tickets are sold through travel agencies, and not directly from the airlines, which makes it difficult to comply with the proposed law’s procedures. The proposed law also requires airlines to establish an electronic interface within six months to synchronize information contained in the airline’s systems with the computer systems in the passenger database and to provide information on an ongoing basis.

The Israeli Ministry of Justice, however, argues that the state needs such a database to strengthen its ability to fight criminal and terrorist organizations and to obtain data during a pandemic such as COVID-19. The Israeli Democracy Institute has also criticized the proposed law, raising concerns about the extent of the uses that the state seeks to make of identified personal information.