Israel's Attorney-General: Employees Cannot be Compelled to Use Biometric Time Clocks

In a brief submitted to the National Court of Labor, the Israeli Attorney-General asserts that using biometric time clocks at the workplace, without obtaining employee consent, disproportionately violates their right to privacy: "In the absence of consent, compelling an employee to provide a biometric sample for the purpose of time logging, in itself, does not confrom with the duties of good-faith and fairness that the employer is obligated to exercise towards its employee."

However, the Attorney-General holds the position that biometric time clocks are permissible if employees provide their informed consent to the practice, "The Attorney-General is of the opinion that biometric time clocks may be used, if employees freely provide their concrete, informed consent to have their biometric sample taken for the abovementioned purpose, after the employer has provided them with complete information as to the benefits and risks involved."
is willing to concur with the Attorney-General's principled approach, but would like to draw his attention to the fact that his own Civil Counseling and Legislation Department has neglected to propose much needed amendments to the existing Protection of Privacy Law, over the years. Biometric information is far from being deemed "Information" protectable under the Protection of Privacy Law. So is genetic information. The same goes for geo-location information, and also… In sum, it's time to replace the Protection of Privacy Law with a modern statute.

And here is a disturbing yet completely justified question that one of our readers has asked: how exactly does the Attorney-General's position co-exist with the biometric systems installed at the State's Employment Service offices, where digital fingerprint scanning is compulsory for unemployed persons seeking unemployment benefits. Source: Globes (in Hebrew, by Gur Megido).