Palestine: Israeli apartheid affects tech content and big companies are involved

duration/ London: Impact International for Human Rights Policies said that the actions of some major technology companies to censor and restrict Palestinian content on social media sites represents complicity with Israel’s policies of discrimination and apartheid.

In its lengthy report, the London-based think tank reviewed the content management policies that led to the censorship of pro-Palestine content and the restriction of accounts expressing views supporting the Palestinian cause, including the business and human rights implications of cyber discrimination.

Impact stated that social media has become the most used means of documenting human rights violations, and is the only outlet for Palestinians to amplify their voices in the face of the reality of extensive Israeli restrictions imposed on them.

The report dealt with several examples of the extensive use of social networking sites by Palestinians to expose the Israeli violations and restrictions on their lives, and to meet the big tech companies with stricter content management policies.

The report reviewed examples of major companies’ tolerance of content that calls for and incites violence against Palestinians, in contrast to their strict content monitoring of human rights violations and discriminatory practices against the population in the occupied Palestinian territories.

He warned that the Israeli surveillance of the Palestinians has intensified in recent years through various technologies, especially the Pegasus program, which allows comprehensive monitoring of all telephone calls in flagrant violation of the right to security and privacy.

He emphasized that in light of the exponential increase in the use of Israeli surveillance technology, the right to privacy is one of the most violated rights to privacy in the digital age. Some local and international reports have documented the methods and surveillance methods used by the Israeli authorities to harass and track Palestinians everywhere.

In recent years, Israel has emerged as one of the world’s largest exporters of security and surveillance devices, with the industry benefiting from a captive population (the Palestinians) on which to test new devices.

Israel experiments with this technology in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and occupied East Jerusalem and then markets it as effective and efficient, making the arms industry in Israel an important part of all its exports.

In addition, digital rights experts say, personal information about travelers and their families and acquaintances is likely to be used in mass surveillance and data collection efforts in Israel.

The reality of privacy and data protection remains murky in the Palestinian context, while large companies continue to violate users’ privacy. The Israeli authorities are trying to expand the techniques of security surveillance, detection and espionage against the Palestinians.

In a similar context, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, the ruling authorities in the Gaza Strip and private Palestinian information technology companies violate users’ privacy, especially in the absence of legislation regulating the right to privacy and data protection legislation.

This coincides with a proposal to introduce new legislation in the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) to restrict freedom of opinion and expression on social media platforms. The law allows the Israeli Public Prosecution to require local courts to remove any content from the digital space because it “incites” or threatens “state security” or “personal security”.

This means that the law has significant consequences for the freedom of expression of Palestinians in the digital space and is in addition to the efforts of the Israeli authorities to control Palestinian digital content.

Consequently, IMPACT recommended that governments of countries around the world realize that by allowing the Israeli regime to continue its systematic electronic apartheid policy against the Palestinian people, it is participating in the continuation of apartheid and the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination undermine.

The International Thought Foundation emphasized that businesses that may do business with Israeli companies or the state that trade in surveillance goods and services used against peaceful activists should be regulated, prosecuted and banned.

It called for taking the necessary measures under international law to punish and pressure governments involved in acts of discrimination and apartheid to stop them, including preventing the sale of any weapons, intelligence technology, ammunition or sales of security equipment to Israel, whether a direct offer or not.

Impact also encouraged major technology companies to be transparent in adopting ethical codes of conduct that fulfill their obligations under the Apartheid Convention and international law to avoid directly or indirectly contributing to the apartheid regime against Palestinians.

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