Democracy and technology

Publications Regarding Democracy and technology



Israel's Cyber Front Is Unprepared

From network hacking to disinformation, Israel is unprepared for combat in today's fourth dimension of warfare.


Israel's Defense Establishment Must Rethink its Conception of Technological Superiority

The paradigm of reliance on technology for our security seems to have led us to a point in which infinite data points and technological tools are at our disposal failed to produce a response. It is of course essential to continue investing in technological superiority, but this needs to be done with a clearer head.


The Path to Victory is Through Silicon Valley

The ongoing war highlights the transformation of technology giants, once American-based corporations, into international entities. Within the Western aid package to Israel, it is imperative to enforce global accountability upon these companies


What lies behind Karhi's radical broadcasting bill?

The Kan public broadcaster has joined forces with Israel’s 2 main commercial TV channels, 12 and 13, to campaign against the bill being promoted by Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi to overhaul the country’s media market. 


Explainer: Israel's High Court of Justice and the Incapacitation Law

The term "incapacitation" refers to a situation in which a government official is unable to perform their duty. The previous version of the law did not detail what constitutes incapacitation, nor who is authorized to declare incapacitation. The current version is accused of being personal and political.  


“Regulations” for the New Year

On the eve of the Jewish New Year, what can we wish for regarding Israeli regulatory policy? Here are some possible policy proposals.


NSO in Israel: Would You Let the Police Handle Uranium?

NSO-Israel Police affair proves we need to rethink the way we oversee surveillance technologies. The solution: Israel needs a privacy czar


The NSO Scandal Should be an Earthquake for the Israel Police

Recent media reports alleging that the police are using controversial surveillance software to spy on Israeli citizens has troubling implications and the current Protection of Privacy Law is not equipped to cope with today’s reality. Israel badly needs new legislation that is up to the challenges of the information age.


Facebook is toxic in Hebrew too — Israelis must be protected

It's up to lawmakers to enact privacy protection, outlaw predatory marketing and hold social media providers in Israel accountable for the harm they do


Online Platforms are Making Up Free Speech Rules as They Go—and It’s Concerning

Banning users from social media platforms raises concerns about free speech protections online


Israel Reauthorizes Shin Bet’s Coronavirus Location Tracking

In its attempts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, Israel has employed a measure that has not been used by any other democratic country. Since mid-March, the Israeli government has sought the assistance of the General Security Service (also known as the Israeli Security Agency, the ISA, the Shabak or Shin Bet) in conducting epidemiological investigations by providing the Ministry of Health with the routes of coronavirus carriers and lists of individuals with whom they have been in close contact. The ISA queries its communication metadata database to identify the route of confirmed carriers and the individuals with whom they have been in close contact.


Fighting the Coronavirus is Impacting Our Privacy

Information is power. Governments and private entities that have access to vast troves of information have vast power.


Surveillance During a Pandemic - International Comparison

Israel has authorized its secret services to carry out extensive surveillance of civilians in the battle against the Coronavirus. In most other democracies there is dedicated legislation to deal with information gathering during the epidemic. IDI's experts complied a comparative review.


Protecting the World’s Most Valuable Commodity

The sharing of medical data has extremely positive potential. It can help with predicting rare diseases, early detection and more exact diagnoses than are possible with existing medical capabilities.


We Need to Talk about Cameras Right Now

They are everywhere, argued the PM after pushing to install them in polling stations. He's right, and that's exactly the problem


The Crossroads between Ethics and Technology

"Israel and other Western Democracies must carefully consider the negative ramifications of excelling in technology while disregarding moral and ethical questions." Read Dr. Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler's latest in Techcrunch


So You Want to Lead the Country? Show Us Your Calendars

The public - your employer - has the right to know how often you skip the Knesset plenum or travel abroad. Election date is getting closer and there is no better time than now, to give some thought to the public’s right to information


The Municipal Elections 2018: Digital Resilience

The digital domain has developed into something of a wild west for election campaigning in recent years. While there are strict laws governing the press, radio, and television, there are almost no restrictions on online campaigning, such as on the forms of advertising permitted, the use of personal data, and advertising budgets. This lack of regulation has already been shown to potentially affect election results, and may lead to the misuse of information on residents, routinely collected by the municipality as part of its function by those in positions of power in local government. 

Press Release

If Meitav's Website Was Hacked - the Breach Was Almost Inevitable

The breach of IDF’s Meitav website was almost inevitable, in light of inadequate attention to the need to protect sensitive personal information and the lack of supporting legislation in Israel.


Public trust in mass media - Breaking, turning and soaring?

Last year the Democracy Index pointed to an all-time low in public trust in the media. However, in 2017 it seems that the trend has reversed. Why?

Research Reel

Privacy Matters in the Digital Age

Priavcy is a requirement for the proper functioning of any democratic society.


The Mobileye Acquisition is Proof that AI Needs Guidelines

The sale of Mobileye to Intel is not surprising when you consider that last year MIT Technology Review ranked the Jerusalem-based company as one of the 10 smartest companies in the world. As such, the real story is the relationship between government, society, and technology.


Time for the Start-Up Nation to Build a Start-Up Government

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that “the time has come for the Start-Up Nation to also have a Start-Up Government.” I agree. But can it be done?


Innovation was the Epic Fail of 2016

In Israel, we talk a lot about innovation. But what does the term really mean?

Press Release

Start-up Nation Central, the Israel Democracy Institute and the Israel Innovation Authority Praise the Government’s Decision to Increase Governmental Interoperability as an Important Step for the Israeli Civil Service

The Israel Democracy Institute (IDI), the Israel Innovation Institute (III) and Start-up Nation Central (SNC) said the government’s recent decision to approve implementing new and innovative interoperability strategies is an important step that could lead to a major breakthrough.


Israel’s Most Effective Political Lobby: Right-wing Nationalists on Social Media

Elor Azaria’s case shows how online pressure by extremist voices can swiftly go viral in the Israeli mainstream, forcing politicians to choose: Play catch up or resist, but at great personal cost.

Policy Statement

Policy Statement: The 'Facebook Bill' (Hebrew)

Ahead of a recent discussion by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation on the “Facebook Bill,” IDI’s Dr. Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler wrote a policy statement in which she called the bill non-applicable to the modern day. She said the bill is likely to cause disproportionate censorship through what will be dysfunctional legal proceedings.


Healthy Public Curiosity vs. Official Privacy

Dr. Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler argues that the Protection of Privacy Law does not create an absolute right, and whoever enters public life must be able to give up parts of his/her privacy, no matter how difficult that might be. This op-ed originally appeared in the Atlanta Jewish Times.


The Prime Minister’s Digital Literacy

When a sizable portion of our decision-makers have that difficulty, and “digital illiteracy” becomes evident in the upper echelons where decisions are made, we’ve got a problem. This article was first published by The Jerusalem Post.


The Real Reason for the Turkish Coup’s Failure

Dr. Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler argues that the main reason the coup in Turkey fizzled is not because of Erdogan’s FaceTime message, but because he had been anticipating this putsch for quite a few years and had arranged the entire legal apparatus that governs the relationship between the Turkish government and the media accordingly. 


Blinded by Technology?

How long will we continue to recite the mantra that “technology cannot be stopped?” To what extent will we take a stand and cease to permit bad social engineering? This article was originally published by The Jerusalem Post.

Policy Statement

Legal Opinion on the Israel Hayom Law

A summary of a legal opinion opposing the "Law for the Advancement and Protection of Print Journalism in Israel," which would prohibit the distribution of a full-sized daily newspaper in Israel free of charge.


Transparency in Local Authority Budgets

Dr. Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler discusses the challenges to transparency in the budgets of Israel's local authorities, including the need to make budgets accessible, to enable searches within budgets, and to facilitate comparisons between the budgets of different authorities.


John Doe v. Jane Doe: Several Comments on the Privacy Revolution of Noam Solberg

IDI Researcher Dr. Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler analyzes a Supreme Court ruling that recalled a book and struck a balance between the right to privacy and the right to freedom of expression, and discusses larger questions of privacy in the digital age.


Thoughts on the Use of a Gag Order Following the Kidnapping

As Israel prays for the safe return of Gilad Shaar, Naftali Fraenkel, and Eyal Yifrach, Dr. Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler, head of IDI's Media Reform project, shares thoughts on the use of gag orders and military censorship in the digital age.


Did You Approve WhatsApp’s New Privacy Policy? Say Goodbye to Your Privacy

The public should protest the violation of its privacy - so that regulations can be put into place to protect everyone

Press Release

How Hard Is It to Do Business in Israel?

"In order to change this trend, we must increase the use of technological tools and behavioral economics."


Events in Jordan Prove the Power of Israel's Censor Has Grown

Israel's Military Censor, an institution that has no parallel in any other democracy in the world, must cease to exist.