Meta challenged over accusations of helping Israel identify war targets through Whatsapp



Sat, 20 Apr 2024 - 04:58 GMT


Sat, 20 Apr 2024 - 04:58 GMT

CAIRO – 20 April 2024: A New York-based blogger has challenged Meta over accusations of sharing users’ data in WhatsApp with Israel to help the regime identify targets during the Gaza war.

Software engineer and blogger Paul Biggar highlighted the reliance of the Israeli AI system Lavender on WhatsApp, aiming to target suspected Hamas fighters during the war.

He emphasized that the provision of users' data to Lavender undermines the claims that WhatsApp is a private messaging app and makes Meta complicit in Israel's killings of targets and their families.

Biggar warned that such practices violate International Humanitarian Law and Meta's commitment to human rights.

Biggar attributed the Israeli military’s ability to get users' data from Whatsapp to the close ties between the regime and three Meta officials, including CEO of Meta Mark Zuckerberg.

Biggar highlighted recent Israeli reports about Israel killing people based on being in the same WhatsApp group through the Israeli Lavender database.

A separate report by The Guardian highlighted Israeli reports about the Israeli military use of AI to identify Gaza targets.

The reports suggest that Israeli military officials allowed numerous Palestinian civilians to be killed during the war.

Intelligence sources involved in the war said Israel used its AI-powered database to identify 37,000 potential targets with apparent links to Hamas.

In addition to using AI, the reports quoted one of the sources as saying: "We usually carried out the attacks with dumb bombs, and that meant literally dropping the whole house on its occupants.”

The source acknowledged that the Israeli forces opted for the bombing of whole family houses based on obtained data, instead of killing Hamas operatives only when they were in a military building or engaged in a military activity.

The war in Gaza has continued for more than six months, killing more than 34,000 people, injuring almost 77,000, destroyed the infrastructure in the strip and displaced most individuals.

Most of the casualties are women and children, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza.



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