Israel to deduct from Palestinian funds for arson damages

Palestinians have been launching kites rigged with incendiary devices into the Israeli border, causing fires that have torched agricultural fields such as this wheat field near the Kibbutz of Nahal Oz. (AFP)
Updated 04 June 2018

Israel to deduct from Palestinian funds for arson damages

  • Israel has been battling fires caused by kites rigged with incendiary devices launched by Palestinians in Gaza
  • Israeli Army Radio put the cost of damages at 5 million shekels ($1.4 million)

JERUSALEM: Israel says it plans to deduct from tax funds it collects for the Palestinians the amount needed to compensate Israelis living near the Gaza Strip who have come under a wave of arson attacks.
Israel has been battling fires caused by kites rigged with incendiary devices launched by Palestinians in Gaza that have damaged forests and torched agricultural fields. The fires have disrupted daily life in communities near the Gaza Strip.
The kites have been flown by Gazans who have staged weekly protests since late March during which more than 115 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli army fire.
The statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office on Sunday didn’t disclose how much would be deducted. Israeli Army Radio put the cost of damages at 5 million shekels ($1.4 million).


Amnesty slams Qatar tracing app for exposing data of a million users

Updated 22 min 55 sec ago

Amnesty slams Qatar tracing app for exposing data of a million users

  • Glitch made users’ ID numbers, location, infection status vulnerable to hackers
  • More than 47,000 of Qatar’s 2.75 million people have tested positive for

DOHA: A security flaw in Qatar’s controversial mandatory coronavirus contact tracing app exposed sensitive information of more than one million users, rights group Amnesty International warned Tuesday.
The glitch, which was fixed on Friday after being flagged by Amnesty a day earlier, made users’ ID numbers, location and infection status vulnerable to hackers.
Privacy concerns over the app, which became mandatory for residents and citizens on pain of prison from Friday, had already prompted a rare backlash and forced officials to offer reassurance and concessions.
Users and experts had criticized the array of permissions required to install the app including access to files on Android devices, as well as allowing the software to make unprompted phone calls.
Despite insisting the unprecedented access was necessary for the system to work, officials said they would address privacy concerns and issued reworked software over the weekend.
“Amnesty International’s Security Lab was able to access sensitive information, including people’s name, health status and the GPS coordinates of a user’s designated confinement location, as the central server did not have security measures in place to protect this data,” the rights group said in a statement.
“While Amnesty International recognizes the efforts and actions taken by the government of Qatar to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures introduced to date, such as access to free health care, all measures must be in line with human rights standards.”
More than 47,000 of Qatar’s 2.75 million people have tested positive for the respiratory disease — 1.7 percent of the population — and 28 people have died.
Like other countries, Qatar has turned to mobiles to trace people’s movements and track who they come into contact with, allowing officials to monitor coronavirus infections and flag possible contagion.
“The Ehteraz app’s user privacy and platform security are of the utmost importance,” Qatar’s health ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
“A comprehensive update of the app was rolled out on Sunday May 24 with expanded security and privacy features for all users.”
But Etheraz, which means “Precaution,” continues to allow real-time location tracking of users by authorities at any time, Amnesty said.
“It was a huge security weakness and a fundamental flaw in Qatar’s contact tracing app that malicious attackers could have easily exploited,” said Claudio Guarnieri, head of the group’s security lab.
“The Qatari authorities must reverse the decision to make use of the app mandatory,” he said.