Israeli Privacy Regulator Issues Draft Guidelines on Right of Access to Personal Data

The Israeli Law, Information and Technology Authority (ILITA, the Israeli privacy regulator) at the Israeli Ministry of Justice has issued draft guidelines on data subjects' right to review their phone call recordings, chat conversations, video calls and other digital information maintained by businesses or other entities providing services to the public. The draft guidelines reflects the Israeli privacy regulator's position on the Israeli Protection of Privacy Law, and particularly section 13 of the statute which addresses data subjects' right to access personal data about them maintained in databases.

Section 13 of the Protection of Privacy Law sets forth the data controller's duty to allow data subjects to access their data. ILITA seeks to clarify that the right of access does not cover merely written correspondence, but rather any kind of personal data maintained in digital form, including recordings of phone and video calls with customer service representatives. In the draft issued, ILITA explains that in the present technological era, where data can be stored by various technological means, the manner in which personal data is stored should correlate to the manner in which the right of access can be exercised. For instance, access should be granted by way of playing the recording to the data subject, or by providing them a copy of the recording using openly available software. According to ILITA, requiring that the data subject arrive at a given location in order to exercise his or her right of access, is unjustified. Instead, access should be given by transmitting files through email, secured access through a website, etc.

The draft guidelines go on to explain that access should be given after appropriate measures have been taken to identify the data subject and safeguard the data. The draft guidelines also underscores the need to avoid divulging excess information or coincidental invasion of privacy of other individuals (for example, other people documented in the video or phone recording). ILITA also clarifies that failure to grant the right of access may trigger enforcement action and possible imposition of administrative fines. {For a copy of the draft guidelines (in Hebrew), click here}