[Partially based on my Hebrew Post]. The assasination of Mahmood Al-Mabhouh is still a mystery, though many links point to the Israeli Mossad as responsible, and security cameras show a general operation, some might understand that biometrics played an important part in the game, as both The Biometric Architect, Meir Sheetrit stated that the biometric database would have prevented the identity theft and we, as opposers, stated that the biometric database allows the Mossad and other security agencies unlimited access to personal information.
However, we could be certain, without a shadow of a doubt, that no matter who is right, some problems arise from the definition of the access to Israel’s biometric database.
It doesn’t matter if MI6 was tipped by the Mossad about the assasination or not; as under the new Biometric Database Act passed in Israel, the Mossad and Shin-Bet would have unlimited access to the biometric database. In such case, and as the biometric data encrypted in passports is only Facial, they could attempt to find persons with double citizenship, let’s say, both Israeli and Irish, and use their original documents, making forgery of Biometric passports irrelevant.
The current law allows them Access, without explaining what is access. During the discussions over the biometric bill in parliament, I tried to ask the Secret Service’s representatives what does this access mean; this is how the conversation was listed in the 20.07.2009 official protocol:
Chair Meir Sheetrit: Ok, the sunlight does not apply for secret things.
Jonathan Klinger: what is ‘pass information from the database’? it could be from the entire database
Parliament Member Eitan Cabel: Mr. Geva is still in the midst of his matters, afterwards we shall relate to it, as my mind is not at ease.
Danny Geva: This clause was phrased after all the other possibilities were examined and in order to allow us to tolerate our needs. What I want to say is that what we create here, with the issuing of the new biometric cards and the database is something new that did not exist before. This new situation has to allow us to continue to act in order to fulfil our role and destination.
Nira Lamay: When they say ‘allow them access to the database’, they mean that they could just enter to the actual place… will they have permissions in the database? when they say ‘allow them acces’, it is not just to convey them –
Chair Meir Sheetrit: Not through communication.
Nira Lamay: So what is ‘allow them access”?
Nissim Alyasaf: They could come to the database and obtain information.
Nissim Alyasaf: The database will not have communication.
Chair Meir Sheetrit: So why won’t you change the word ‘Access’?
Nira Lamay: So what is access?
Danny Geva: it doesn’t matter what access is, the word access has to stay because we inspected all other possibilities –
Chair Meir Sheetrit: do explain.
Danny Geva: Sir, there are things I cannot explain.
Now, you may understand that no matter what, Sheetrit’s statement that “Effective use of biometric data could have prevented the apparent theft of Anglo-Israelis’ identities” is incorrect; had the Mossad wished to do so, it could have just as easily found the people it needed in the database and use the government’s own facilities to issue original biometric passports.
The other point of failure is the ease of stealing Israel’s biometric database; as I explained briefly in a Round-Table held at the Israeli Democracy Institute, more than 30,000 People would have access to the biometric database. This number constitutes around 0.5% of the Israeli population. No secret is secure enough when so many people have access to it.
We are turning more and more into a surveillance society, this has to be stopped before we lose ourselves.