Israeli customs and immigration can and will read your email

Anyone making any business connections in Israel might want to rethink their plans.

The Israeli government has decided that business people will have to provide email and passwords to all their accounts when you enter the country. This will enable Mossad to snoop on the private and business life of anyone one who enters the Holy Land.

Israel’s top legal official said that security officials at Ben Gurion airport are legally allowed to demand access to traveller email accounts and deny them entry if they refuse.

Details of the policy were laid out by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein in a written response to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), the group said in a statement.

Apparently this has been going on for some time. In June 2012, ACRI’s Lila Margalit wrote to the attorney general demanding clarification following media reports about security officials demanding access to tourists’ email accounts before allowing them into the country.

Now, according to Security Week, it seems Israel has confirmed the practice. It’s claimed that it was only done in exceptional cases where “relevant suspicious signs” were evident and only done with the traveller’s “consent”. Consent being you will do it or we will send you home.

The attorney general’s office also noted that while a traveller may refuse such a search, ‘it will be made clear that refusal to do so will be taken into consideration along with other relevant factors, in deciding whether to allow entry to Israel.

ACRI pointed out that a traveller could not freely give their consent while facing the threat of possible deportation if they refused.

“Allowing security agents to take such invasive measures at their own discretion and on the basis of such flimsy ‘consent’ is not befitting of a democracy,” the ACRI warned.

The moves might worry companies like Intel who have to fly lots of top executives into the country and might want not want Mossad looking at all executives emails and Powerpoint slides. If the government does not snoop on executives, then the question is why is it bothering tourists?