Ex Israeli Government Hacker Says Spying on Palestinians Was Too Easy

A former member of Israel’s elite Unit 8200 denounces the country’s surveillance against Palestinians.

|
Nov 23 2016, 4:20pm

In 2014, 34 reserve soldiers who served in Israel's elite intelligence Unit 8200—the country's version of the NSA—sent a letter to the Prime Minister, denouncing the pervasive surveillance against Palestinians.

Now, two years later, one of those 34 soldiers is speaking out to explain the motives of their unprecedented gesture, and criticizing Israel's military for giving teenagers and people in their early twenties so much uncontrolled power to spy.

"I got to the point that I understood that I was part of something that I don't really believe in," the soldier, who spoke on condition that we don't use his full name but just Gilad, said. "And that Palestinians are fully vulnerable to surveillance and practically any 18-year-old kid can decide that a Palestinian is a legitimate and justified target for intelligence."

"There's no legal procedure, no attorneys [...]. Very easy. It's a matter of pressing the button."

"There's no legal procedure, no attorneys that you have to consult with. Very easy. It's a matter of pressing the button," he added.

As part of VICELAND's new series of CYBERWAR, VICE Canada reporter Ben Makuch spoke to Gilad in an exclusive interview. Watch the full interview with Gilad in the video above. And follow the new season of CYBERWAR every Tuesday at 10:30 PM ET/PT.

Get six of our favorite Motherboard stories every day by signing up for our newsletter.

Stories