The Israeli Minister of Justice, Ms. Ayelet Shaked, says that certain liabilities should be imposed on Internet giants like Facebook, Microsoft and similar companies, regarding unlawful content and activities on their services. The minister spoke at the Cyber Week Conference held at the Tel Aviv University. The minister revealed that the Ministry of Justice, working closely with the Israeli National Cyber Headquarters, is drafting new cyber defense legislation. She also indicated that the ministry is advancing a draft bill that would provide for the issuance of injunctions ordering the removal of online content, such as content advocating for terrorism, and would also facilitate blocking access to certain websites, such as those disseminating pedophilic content.
The minister delivered a speech in which she presented a comprehensive policy regarding cyber regulation. In her opening remarks, she mentioned that she takes a dual approach: as the Minister of Justice, she bears responsibility for establishing the legal infrastructure required to foster a safe cyber ecosystem. As a former computer engineer and a member of the high-tech industry, she feels committed to preserve the spirit of technological innovation that drives the Israeli economy and society and reduce the oversight and regulation in this domain to a minimum.
The minister emphasized that threats arising from cyber attacks adversely affect public trust in cyberspace as an openly accessible domain that facilitates free flow of information, capital and services, and fosters innovation and general welfare. Therefore, governments must be engaged in what is traditionally considered as an area for the private sector, and must invest resources to develop their cyber abilities to handle and address those threats. The minister emphasized that Israel is committed to protecting cyberspace and that the Ministry of Justice bears a central role in this feat.
According to minister Shaked, one of the cornerstones of Israel's cyber strategy is better cooperation between the private sector and the public sector. The government must be involved, together with the private sector, in performing its duty of providing security. The Ministry of Justice is working closely with the National Cyber Headquarters to prepare a new cyber defense law.
With respect to cyber crime, minister Shaked indicated that this form of crime is one of the fastest growing areas of criminal activity, and the damages resulting from this type of crime exceed the damages resulting from other areas of criminal activity Cyber terrorism also poses a severe threat, where cyberspace is used for incitement and dissemination of extremism, recruitment of terror activists and transmission of messages between terrorists. To combat these types of threats, the Ministry of Justice established a designated unit within the State Solicitor to handle cyber terror and crime. The unit prosecutes the full array of offenses in this area, including online fraud, online pedophilia and cyber terrorism.
The minister stressed that one of the main areas of focus in cyber is Internet giants, online platforms and content providers such as Facebook, Google, Twitter and Microsoft. Many democracies around the globe are tackling difficult questions regarding the appropriate regulatory approach to these actors. According to minister Shaked, we must acknowledge that severe criminal offenses are committed within the purview of these platforms and that a certain degree of liability should be imposed on Internet companies regarding unlawful content and unlawful activities unfolding on their services. Shaked intimated that cooperation mechanisms should be established between governments and Internet companies in order to deal with such content, at the very least when those companies are made aware of criminal activities committed through their online services.
Shaked said that the Ministry of Justice is leading these activities with Internet companies, for instance in promoting cooperation with content providers where the content they disseminate violates Israeli law or the term of use of those companies. The ministry is advancing a draft bill that would provide for the issuance of injunctions ordering the removal of online content, such as content advocating for terrorism, and would also facilitate blocking access to certain websites, such as those disseminating pedophilic content. She emphasized that the legislation would apply to websites exceeding a high threshold of criminal severity.