Israel’s army has deployed a sweeping personal data collection programme using facial recognition technology targeting Palestinians in parts of the occupied West Bank.

It was first reported by The Washington Post based on soldier testimony given to the Breaking the Silence organisation.

An organisation working with former soldiers said that the programme sees Israeli troops collecting data of Palestinians in the flashpoint city of Hebron.

Breaking the Silence advocacy director Ori Givati told AFP that soldiers on patrol equipped with specialised devices “take photos of every Palestinian that they see, completely arbitrarily.

After the picture is taken, the system known as “Blue Wolf” generates four possible results.

According to Givati, the findings were based on testimony from six soldiers who participated in the surveillance effort.

A red result means the individual should be arrested, yellow means the Palestinian should be detained while an army superior is consulted, and green indicates the individual is free to go.

But no result means the Palestinians is not yet in the Blue Wolf system. That prompts the soldier to collect more data.

Asked for comment on the reports about Blue Wolf, Israel’s army said it “conducts routine security operations” in the West Bank as part of its “fight against terrorism.”

A spokesman said, referring to the Israeli Defense Forces, naturally, we cannot comment on the IDF’s operational capabilities in this context.

According to Givati, soldiers have competed for prizes over who takes the most pictures.  We are talking about another layer of control. Another layer of things that we allow ourselves to do to the Palestinian people.

Israel has occupied the West Bank — where more than two million Palestinians live — since the 1967 Six-Day War. Roughly 475,000 Jewish settlers now live in the Palestinian territory, in communities widely regarded as illegal under international law.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.