Report: PM to Push Law Against Recording Conversations

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu seen in his Yerushalayim office this week. (Gali Tibbon/Reuters/Pool)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu seen in his Yerushalayim office. (Gali Tibbon/Reuters/Pool)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is considering pushing a law that would prevent individuals from recording conversations unless both parties in the conversation are aware that a recording is being made. Channel Ten reported Wednesday night that Netanyahu sees the current law that allows recordings if only one party is aware that a recording is being made as an invasion of privacy.

Media reports quoted journalists and police as saying that the law would harm their ability to do their jobs. Speaking to Haaretz, a police official who spoke anonymously said that even though Netanyahu said specifically that police would be able to record conversations without informing either party, it would still interfere with their work, as it would be more difficult to record conversations of individuals who were not under investigation.

Channel Ten said that Netanyahu hinted at the proposal at a Knesset committee meeting earlier Wednesday. A source at the meeting said that Netanyahu had said that “this is a matter of defending the rights of the individual. There are numerous places in the United States where such rules exist. Of course, police will be exempt from this law.” The source said that Netanyahu had not made any specific decision on whether or not to advance the law, “so there was no need to get overly excited,” the report quoted the source as saying.

Under the current law, a conversation in Israel can be recorded if it is initiated by one of the parties, or if one of them is aware that a recording is being made. The party aware of the recording does not have to inform the other side that it is being made. Recording conversations in which neither party is aware of the recording can be done only by police.