E-government in Israel - transformation into the post-truth era
by Joseph Zernik, PhD -Human Rights Alert NGO
ECDG 2017 17th European Conference on Digital Government p270
Abstract: Previous reports (e.g., ECEG2015) reviewed e-courts in Israel, documenting large-scale fraud in new IT systems of the Israeli courts, amounting to an unannounced regime change. The current report reviews e-government across the branches of government, re-affirming the same conclusion. The underlying research is based on data mining, system analysis, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, State Ombudsman, Judiciary Ombudsman, UN Human Rights Council reports and case studies. The Knesset (parliament) refuses to duly answer on FOIA requests pertaining to development, validation, operation, and security of its own IT systems and electronic records. The Knesset’s records themselves are patently invalid and insecure. The Central Election Committee’s IT systems have been repeatedly alleged as a tool for a 2015 general election fraud. State Ombudsman’s reports document ongoing critical integrity and security failures in the Committee’s systems. The Committee’s initial FOIA response states that its IT systems were examined and certified by the Shin-Bet (secret service). However, the Shin-Bet denied such claims, and subsequently the Committee’s amended FOIA response, states that it doesn’t have any information regarding validation and certification of its systems. The Ministry of Justice implemented the E-signature Act (2001) in collaboration with Comsign, a private corporation, controlled by senior IDF Unit 8200 (cyber-war) veterans. “Detached” e-signatures were implemented, and public access to e-signature data is universally denied, permitting routine Shell Game Fraud (Confidence Trick) by state officers. Such officers issue false and misleading, unsigned official records, which are deemed by them “drafts”, but are deceptively represented to others as valid and authoritative state legal records. Fraudulent IT systems have also been implemented in administrative courts under the Ministry of Justice: The Debtors’ Courts and the Detainees’ Courts, as documented in State Ombudsman and UN Human Rights Council reports, respectively. Judges have been repeatedly caught perpetrating Fraud Upon the Court through issuing false and deliberately misleading, sham/simulated “drafts” and falsely representing them to others as valid, effectual and enforceable court records. No such judge has been held criminally accountable. The Israel Bar Association and the legal profession should be generally viewed central to such fraudulent government practices. However, leading law professors have recently voiced their protest in view of patent corruption of the courts and the State Prosecution in the Roman Zadorov affair. CS departments in leading academic institutions are now home to two newly established, state-funded Cyber Security Research Centers. With a few exceptions, academic CS experts are unwilling to comment on the fundamental deficiencies of e-government in Israel. The Security Apparatus controls all critical e-government systems, and over the past year the Prime Minister has assumed total authority over such systems with no clear foundation in the law. In an our era, “[computer] code is law”. Therefore, e-government systems are a central control tool, which defines the nature of the regime. Israel may present an extreme case, but not a unique one at all. IT experts in general, and e-government experts in particular, should assume a central civic duty in the safeguard of Human Rights and Civil Society in the Post-Truth Era.
Keywords: Shin-Bet, Cyber Authority, Regime Change, Deep State