• The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) has a Palestinian National Statistical System (NSS) that encompasses all data producers and providers within Palestine.

  • In 2018, the Palestinian Ministry of Telecommunication and Information Technology launched the Open Government Data Initiative, which seeks to facilitate access to governmental and economic data via a user-friendly online portal.¹

  • The Ministry of Telecommunication and Information Technology released an open data portal presentation in 2020 as part of its open government initiative. The open data portal was launched in 2021.²

  • The Ministry of Telecommunication and Information Technology has undertaken several AI-related capacity-building and education projects, with support from various United Nations (UN) bodies.

  • The Palestine Data Strategy (PDS) 2022-2026 was produced by the PCBS, following extensive discussions with all members of the NSS.³ Its main objective is to enhance the use of data within the NSS through a greater focus on data quality and coverage.

  • Under the Israeli occupation, Palestinians are subject to multiple legal systems, where Palestinians living in the West Bank are subject to Israeli legislation, while all Palestinians within Palestinian Territories are subject to the Palestinian Basic Law of the Palestinian Authority and to Israeli Military Law.⁴

  • Palestinians residing in Palestine are not afforded the protections guaranteed by Israel’s Protection of Privacy Law of 1981 or the Israeli Privacy Authority.⁵

  • The Palestinian Basic Law guarantees privacy and freedom, but makes no reference to data or communications.⁶

  • The majority of the information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure in the occupied Palestinian territories remains under Israeli control, making it difficult for Palestinians to enact and enforce data protection legislation.⁷

  • In 2017, the Palestinian Authority adopted the Cybercrime Law no. 16/2017, later amending it in Law no. 10/2018.⁸

  • More amendments were introduced in 2020, specifically criminalizing the use of information technologies as a means to threaten or extort another person, and setting out legal repercussions for the breach of this new provision.⁹

  • In 2012, a draft law on freedom of access to information (FOIA) was proposed in Palestine. However, more than a decade later, the FOIA act remains a draft.¹⁰

  • Various surveillance tactics, from CCTV surveillance and facial recognition to social media and biometric surveillance, are used by the Israeli government to track Palestinians.¹¹

  • Israeli occupying forces have been reported to use Palestinian territories and Palestinians to test invasive surveillance and military-grade AI technologies.¹²

¹ Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. (n.d.). Open Government Data Initiative - Palestine. Open Government Data Initiative - Palestine | Arab Open and Innovative Government Portal. https://opengov.unescwa.org/node/1177

² Ministry of Telecom and IT (2021). Open Data Government Initiative https://datacatalogs.org/portal/open_data_ps

³ Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (2021). Palestine Data Strategy 2022-2026. https://www.pcbs.gov.ps/Portals/_Rainbow/Documents/PalDataStrategyPDS2022-2026E.pdf

⁴ Husseini, Hiba (2016). Legal Duality in the Occupied West Bank. Palestine Israel Journal, Vol. 21 No. 3, 2016. https://pij.org/articles/1683/legal-duality-in-the-occupied-west-bank

⁵ Stevens, Andrew (2011). Surveillance Policies, Practices and Technologies in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories: Assessing the Security State. The New Transparency, Working Paper IV. https://www.surveillance-studies.ca/sites/sscqueens.org/files/2011-11-Stevens-WPIV_0.pdf

⁶ BASIC LAW OF THE PALESTINIAN NATIONAL AUTHORITY. Venice Commission: Council of Europe. (2009, March 4).  https://www.venice.coe.int/webforms/documents/default.aspx?pdffile=CDL(2009)008-e

⁷ AbuShanab , Anan. “Connection Interrupted: Israel’s Control of the Palestinian ICT Infrastructure and Its Impact on Digital Rights.” 7amleh – The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media, December 2018. https://7amleh.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Report_7amleh_English_final.pdf

⁸ President of the Palestinian National Authority. (2017, June 24). Law by Decree No. 16 of 2017 on Cybercrime. DCAF Legal Database. https://security-legislation.ps/en/law/100111

⁹ President of the Palestinian National Authority. (2020, September 1). Law by Decree No, 28 of 2020 on Cybercrime. DCAF Legal Database https://security-legislation.ps/en/law/100198

¹⁰ Abu Aita, R., Al-Barghouthi, B., Cottier, B., Friedrich, R., Itawi, F., Kaufmann, R., Luethold, A., Masson, N., Matarea, A., Rimawi, M., Touma, F., Rimawi, M., Abu Arqoub, M., Arouri, M., & Hammad, A. (Eds.). (2013, July 11). Palestinian draft law on access to information: Bringing access to information legislation in line with international civil-democratic standards. DCAF – Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance. https://www.dcaf.ch/palestinian-draft-law-access-information-bringing-access-information-legislation-line-international

¹¹ Stevens, A. (2011, November). Surveillance Policies, Practices and Technologies in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories: Assessing the Security State. the new transparency: surveillance and social sorting . https://www.surveillance-studies.ca/sites/sscqueens.org/files/2011-11-Stevens-WPIV_0.pdf

¹² Goodfriend, S. (2022, February 21). How the occupation fuels Tel Aviv’s booming AI sector. Foreign Policy. https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/02/21/palestine-israel-ai-surveillance-tech-hebron-occupation-privacy/



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