• Human Rights Alert NGO

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


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Joseph Zernik, PhD  Research Director

Dr Zernik’s core research pertains to e-government, government cyber operations, and their implications relative to human rights, civil society, and democratic institutions.

His work won appreciation in Israel and abroad:

  • Prof Uzzi Ornan - “All power to you! I hope that you see your tremendous efforts reach fruition!”

  • Attorney Avigdor Feldman - “In my opinion you are doing very important work… thank you for your thorough and persistent work”.

  • Prof Amnon Shashua, Mobileye Co-founder - “… very important work”.

  • International experts, as part of anonymous peer-review - “… challenges current thinking in the field”.

Four (4) submissions, authored by Dr Zernik and submitted under Human Rights Alert - NGO, were incorporated into UN Human Rights Council Periodic Reports regarding the US (2010, 2015) and Israel (2013, 2018).

The 2018 High Commissioner’s report on Israel included the following note:

"24. HRA-NGO highlighted the serious deterioration in integrity of law and justice agencies as a consequence of the implementation of e-government systems. It affirmed that the validity and integrity of any legal and judicial records of Israel should be deemed dubious at best."

His research has been presented and published in international academic conferences, including Data Mining (2010), Criminology (2012), E-government (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018), Cyber and Law (2018), Global Security (2019), and closed discussion panels in the Israeli Democracy Institute re: “Cyber Authority Bill” and “Fake Election”.

His work was also cited in a textbook on “Machine Learning”:

"Data mining of government records - particularly records of the justice system (i.e., courts, prisons) - enables the discovery of systemic human rights violations in connection to generation and publication of invalid or fraudulent legal records by various government agencies."

In 2018 he won a thank you note from the bureau of Supreme Court of Israel Presiding Justice for pointing her attention to the inexplicable disclaimer - “subject to editing and phrasing changes” - which appeared on all decisions of the Supreme Court from 2002 to that date.

In 2017 he won the right of public entry to the courtroom in Ayalon Prison complex, where hearings are held in matters pertaining to prisoners and detainees, without the 24 hour advance approval, imposed until then.

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