31 March - 6 April: Digital Rights Weekly Update


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Inside the Israeli Panopticon (English)

Red Pepper

Today, the surveillance of the Palestinian people continues in violent and terrifying ways. Gaza, often dubbed the largest outdoor prison in the world, is under a panopticon Israeli siege: drones offer a near constant buzz of overhead. The West Bank is carved up into Bantustans with Israeli army checkpoints monitoring – and restricting – Palestinians movements. Facial recognition cameras are dotted across the territories. Drones are here too. But it’s not only Palestinians who are victims of this surveillance. The technologies used by the Israeli regime are exported all over the world. In 2019 a report from Israel’s Defence Ministry claimed it had doubled its exports of civilian and refugee monitoring technology. In 2022, Frontex, responsible for managing Europe’s borders, and also accused of mass human rights violations, awarded contracts to the Israeli arms company Elbit Systems, to operate its Hermes 900 drone to manage Mediterranean border crossings. Meanwhile India too has invested in drones (and arms) to bolster its surveillance capabilities in Kashmir, which is home to a freedom movement that is being brutally repressed by the Indian state.


Where is Israel’s Private Cyberattack Sector Going? (English)                                                    The Jerusalem Post                                                                                                                   Until November 2021, Israel’s cyber offense firms seemed to be expanding without limits, and years of media and human rights criticism had at most affected the industry’s tactics, but not at a strategic level. Between 2011 and 2023, at least 74 governments contracted with commercial firms to obtain spyware or digital forensics technology, according to data collected by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. According to the Carnegie Endowment report, autocratic regimes were much likelier than democracies to purchase commercial spyware or digital forensics. Its statistics showed that 44 regimes classified as closed autocracies or electoral autocracies purchased surveillance technologies during the relevant years, as compared to 30 electoral democracies or liberal democracies.


7amleh to Watan: Israeli hate speech and racism against the Palestinians witnessed a big leap this year (Arabic)

Watan Agency

In its report on the racism and incitement through social media platforms, "7amleh" confirmed a jump in Israeli hate speech against Palestinians and Arabs during the year 2023 compared to last year. The  local advocacy manager at the “7amleh”, Cathrine Abuamsha, explained, in an interview with Watan, presented by my colleague Reem Al-Omari, that the rate of violent Israeli discourse through digital space or on social media platforms increased this year. By 10% compared to last year, the rate of racist discourse against Palestinians and Arabs increased to 39% of the total discourse that was monitored, while the percentage of inciting discourse reached 20%, and insults constituted 41% of this discourse.


Escape the Echo Chamber (English)


Something has gone wrong with the flow of information. It’s not just that different people are drawing subtly different conclusions from the same evidence. It seems like different intellectual communities no longer share basic foundational beliefs. Maybe nobody cares about the truth anymore, as some have started to worry. Maybe political allegiance has replaced basic reasoning skills. Maybe we’ve all become trapped in echo chambers of our own making – wrapping ourselves in an intellectually impenetrable layer of like minded friends and web pages and social media feeds.



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