So here we are. As the Israeli Knesset starts investigations into left-wing groups that dare question Zionist occupation and war, web censorship is now happening at the country’s only international airport. Perhaps Tel Aviv looks at Tehran and would like advice how to block “offensive” websites:
Internet sites of political organizations, both left-wing and right-wing, have been barred from viewing at Ben-Gurion Airport, Haaretz has learned.
They are blocked by an information filtering company that classifies them as “dangerous.”
Barred sites include leftist organizations Breaking the Silence, Machsom Watch, Peace Now and Taayush and the rightist Legal Forum for the Land of Israel and World Headquarters to Save the People and Land of Israel.
Sites operated by parties and other groups with political affiliations were easily accessed.
The Airport Authority provides wireless Internet services to passengers at Ben-Gurion International Airport through the 012 Internet provider.
Asked whether any site could be accessed from the terminal, an 012 official admitted that some sites may have been blocked.
The “error” notice appearing on the political groups’ sites directs surfers to the Fortinet information protection company’s web-filtering system.
Netanel Davidi, CEO of the Altal information security company, said the filtering system “can trace sites with offensive content and block access to them, after users worldwide mark and categorize them. The system also blacklists hostile sites and prevents access to them.”
“The general instructions to 012 is to allow free surfing to all except bandwidth-heavy sites that stream video, music and the like. This is to enable most passengers to surf uninterruptedly. Porn and gambling sites have also been blocked, as is customary,” IAA said.
It added that 012 is using a technological filtering device that “categorizes controversial sites.”
Peace Now secretary general Yariv Oppenheimer said “it’s regrettable that people leaving Israel should be made to feel as though they were leaving China or North Korea. Only backward countries bar Internet sites expressing political opinions.”