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Monday , December 6 2021

Israel eyes law to remove online content on terror

TEL AVIV, June 23, (Agencies): Israel’s Justice Ministry is drafting legislation that would enable it to order Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other social media to remove online postings it deems to be inciting terrorism. “We are working on draft legislation, similar to what is being done in other countries; one law that would allow for a judicial injunction to order the removal of certain content, such as websites that incite to terrorism,” Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said. “There should be some measure of accountability for Internet companies regarding the illegal activities and content that is published through their services,” Shaked told a cybersecurity conference in Tel Aviv this week.

Israel blames a wave of Palestinian attacks which erupted in October last year on incitement to violence by the Palestinian leadership and on social media. Palestinian leaders say many attackers have acted out of desperation in the absence of movement towards creating an independent Palestinian state. A spokeswoman for Shaked said it was too early to say what measures or sanctions might be included in the law, which would need parliamentary approval, but that it was likely to be similar to those introduced in France. France has made far-reaching changes to surveillance laws since the attacks on Charlie Hebdo last year. It has taken steps to blacklist jihadi sites that “apologise for terrorism”, but stopped short of using such laws to censor major Internet services.

“The legislation … will focus on removing prohibited content, with an emphasis on terrorist content, or blocking access to prohibited content,” Shaked’s spokeswoman said. Meanwhile, Israel’s military says it is investigating a recent incident at an air force base in which soldiers were ordered to stand in formation to spell out the Google logo for the company’s visiting executives. It said Tuesday it was “an idea conceived during a visit by Google representatives to an Israel Air Force Base. The matter will be looked into.”

Footage of about a hundred soldiers standing in the scorching summer heat next to aircraft in a formation that spelled out the logo sparked outrage in Israel, where military service is mandatory. Opposition lawmaker Shelly Yachimovich said in a Facebook post: “Who will decide which private company to suck up to… and what has this got to do with defending Israel…?” She asked, “how much did this humiliation cost?”

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