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HaMoked and PHR-Israel demand: Israel must stop compelling Palestinians holding Israeli stay permits to download an intrusive mobile application in order to ascertain their permits’ renewal; other verification options must be made available during the coronavirus crisis

On April 6, 2020, HaMoked and Physicians for Human Rights – Israel wrote to the Minister of Interior, the Attorney General and the military to demand they stop exploiting the coronavirus crisis to disseminate use of the Coordinator (المنسق, Al Munasiq) mobile application among the Palestinians holding Israeli stay permits. Through this new application, Palestinian residents of the oPt who lawfully live in Israel with such permits, can verify whether the validity period of their permits has been extended and updated in the computerized system of the civil administration, the police and the Population Authority. This is presented as the sole substitute to actually going to one of the District Coordination Offices (DCO) in the West Bank, as they are now closed due to the pandemic.

However, installing the application requires complete waver of privacy, and permission to access and use all information stored on the telephone. As there is currently no alternative for verifying extension of the permit, people have no real free choice in the matter and must install the intrusive application. HaMoked clarified that at issue was a basic need of the applicants to make sure they are lawfully present in their homes – otherwise they face the threat of deportation and separation from their families. Therefore the organizations demanded the authorities stop to instruct applicants to download this application and instead directly inform each applicant about the extension of their permit.

In a preliminary response, dated April 7, 2020, the military claimed that the application did not make use of personal information by default, but only after individual approval of the user, and that the terms of use were similar to those of other applications.

Given this unsatisfactory response, HaMoked and PHR-Israel repeated their demand, emphasizing that effectively, use of the application is compulsory and involves a severe infringement of privacy and human dignity. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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