High technology and innovation without parliamentary oversight

The Knesset’s winter session ended when the government’s activities in the field of information and communications technology and high-tech issues remained without parliamentary oversight. ● It is assumed that the situation will not change in the summer session –

High-tech bodies in the government: Activism – yes, supervision of the Knesset – Nir.Photo: BigStock

Internet news made headlines again this week, once again in the context of the Israel-Iran conflict. Last Monday, Iranian attackers took another step forward in their cyberwar against the “Little Satan,” as they call us — a war that usually happens under the radar, and the Revolutionary Guards fully admitted they carried out a DDoS denial of service attack on government servers that shut down some government websites for about hour.

The damage was minimal, no information was disclosed and there was no hacking. But this event is another wake-up call—or, if you will, a sudden rehearsal of a wet event, as the IDF usually defines. Joseph ShimaniHe said in an interview withpeople and computers Following the incident, government websites were attacked throughout the year, but this attack was exceptional in its scale.

There is reason to believe that government bodies will be implemented, and it is hoped that the procedures will already be implemented, inspected and refined. But in recent months the Knesset has not supervised her, her job is to make sure that she applies the lessons. One of the main reasons for this is that since the establishment of the current Knesset, committees that are supposed to oversee government activities in everything related to ICT, cyber and information security have not been formed. This, in the context of the dispute between the coalition and the opposition, which claims that it has been discriminated against in the management and employment of committees, and refuses to participate in its discussions.

State Audit Committee

For example, to date, the State Audit Committee has not been formed in the current Knesset, which is the main body that discusses the reports of the State Comptroller, whose role is to monitor the implementation of the results.

Upon learning of the Iranian attack this week, the state comptroller posted: Matyahu EngelmanIn a statement, a comprehensive review of the government’s preparations for cyber attacks is currently underway. In a previous report he published, the auditor found shortcomings in the security of the country’s critical infrastructure from the Internet and even called for the creation of an “electronic iron dome”.

The lack of oversight by the State Audit Committee is very worrying, given the role of the auditor and the set of findings that require correction that he has put forward in his various reports, including the one he referred to this week. It is possible that if members of the opposition continue to resent the coalition, the results of the future auditor on government ministries’ assessments of the Internet will not be discussed, at least not in the State Audit Committee.

Science and Technology Committee

Another committee that has not been formed since the establishment of the current Knesset until now is the Committee on Science and Technology, whose primary function is to oversee the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology, and indirectly the Innovation Authority, and the large sums it manages.

When will they recover there in the Knesset?

When will they recover there in the Knesset? Photo: Illustration – BigStock

The lack of oversight by this committee, like all Knesset committees, undermines a very important foundation of democracy: transparency. Previously, when the commission was working, representatives of the body of ministries and ministries responsible for it submitted periodic reports on its activities, including the scope of grants it provides to start-ups and entrepreneurs, and the criteria for their distribution.

The fact that there is no permanent and transparent oversight mechanism undermines public confidence in the activities of government bodies, and sometimes causes injustice to those involved in the profession there.

It must be clarified that things are not written because someone, including this writer, suspects the presence of improper acts in the activities of those bodies. But Parliamentary Oversight – its role is to watch, help and alert when necessary. Knesset committees in certain regions hold discussions on cross-cutting issues, some of which have the power to approve budgets or laws, and in many cases help government bodies implement their policies and take them out of the internal government bureaucracy. The fact that there is no permanent and transparent oversight mechanism undermines public confidence in the activities of these institutions, and at times causes unfairness to those who practice there.

Entities responsible for the high-tech industry – without supervision

To summarize what has been written so far in the context of the locomotive of the economy, there is no parliamentary oversight of the bodies entrusted with dealing with the high-tech industry.

An exception is the Committee on Economics, since its inception. It held several debates on burning high-tech issues and even set up a subcommittee on high-tech affairs, headed by a Knesset member. Ron Katz (There is a future). The composition of the subcommittee itself is a certain change, but so far it has held one discussion, on the eve of the Knesset recess – about the shortage of human capital in the industry. It is questionable whether it has the authority to hold discussions on the activities of bodies such as the State ICT Authority, the Innovation Authority, the government labor body that believes in employee training and more.

The Transparency Committee will be restored

In addition to all of this, the current coalition has abandoned the formation of the Transparency Committee, which was founded and chaired by a former MK at the time. benign autumn. During its activities, the commission generated a great deal of media coverage, as it addressed important issues and exposed gray and even dark areas in the work of government and public bodies. There are quite a few stakeholders who certainly did not regret that the committee inflates its spirit, and the fact that MKs, especially from the opposition, do not push for its creation is puzzling, because its activities actually have the potential to play their part. Opposition to criticizing the government and exposing corruption.

minimum: The Knesset ended the winter session without proper parliamentary oversight of ICT and high-tech activities – in the government sector, critical infrastructure and in general. Outwardly, the situation does not seem to change in the summer session – which is a shame.

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