Israel – Another step in government restrictions on the Web

Two weeks ago, when police directive was published for the first time in Israel, instructing the Internet providers to block access to some gambling websites, the economic Committee  of the Knesset (Israeli parliament) approved, on July 13th, a bill requiring Internet service providers to inform their clients about the dangers of the Internet and to provide their customers with free Internet filtering software. This followed a discussion in the Knesset on the matter before the same committee on July 5th.

Following the attempts being made in the last decade to limit by legislation the Internet freedom in Israel, MK Alex Miller submitted this bill, once again, on April 1, 2009 (P/456/18). The same bill was submitted in the previous Knesset (P/1752 /17) by the same member on November 27, 2006.

The proposal was discussed earlier in the Knesset on October 24, 2007 and was rejected at a meeting of the Economic Committee on February 26, 2008. To the current effort of MK Miller to pass this bill, joined six other members of the Knesset.

Now, after being approved, the bill will pass for a first vote in the Knesset. Most of the bills in the past were a real limitation on the free use of the Internet in the form of blocking sites or restricting access in workplaces and public places. However, those bills were not accepted in most cases.

Since the bill is not a direct limitation on access to websites, but to impose a duty on Internet service providers to provide information and software on this matter, it is possible that the bill will eventually be approved.

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