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Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday authorized the US National Security Agency (NSA) to obtain the personal details of Israelis’ Internet browsing habits, the first time the NSA has been granted such authority.
The order was issued on the same day that the US Senate passed a resolution demanding the declassification of a report that said the NSA had tapped the servers of two leading Israeli Internet companies in order to obtain their customers’ private data.
“We are now aware that this [approval] is the first authorized application of the United States to obtain information from an Israeli company in relation to the interception of private communications,” a ministry statement said, adding that it was “committed to the full disclosure of all data collected by our intelligence agencies.”
Israel, a country of just over 11 million people, is one of the few Western democracies that has a strong and growing Internet freedom movement.
The country is currently under US sanctions against it for spying on Israel, and Israel has accused Washington of violating its sovereign right to defend itself.
Israel’s parliament voted on Thursday to extend the country’s current sanctions against US-Israel relations to include the US.
The NSA is currently allowed to collect information on Israeli citizens as part of a global collection effort that targets US firms, such as Facebook and Google, and Israeli companies.
It is also allowed to conduct surveillance on foreign companies that it believes may provide information to the US government.
Last year, Israel’s parliament also passed a law that expanded the scope of the NSA’s powers and allowed it to obtain communications data from Israeli citizens and businesses that had been ordered to turn over their data to the agency.
Israel’s security cabinet has also proposed a law to expand the NSA program’s scope to cover foreign companies, and a new law would also allow the agency to access the personal data of Israeli citizens without a warrant.