Israel’s Shin Bet spy service partners with private start-ups

05 Jul, 2018 9:34 am

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s domestic intelligence service Shin Bet said on Wednesday it had teamed up with seven private Israeli start-ups to find unconventional approaches to technological challenges.

The start-ups, chosen from among 100 contenders for the maiden Shin Bet accelerator, focus on realms like artificial intelligence, data-based prediction, automated document scanning and screening out disinformation, an agency spokesman said.

“This move reflects our understand that there are brains on the outside, people who may not have the personality or skills for government employment, but who do have a novel approach and technologies that we might want,” the spokesman said.

Each start-up won a $50,000 grant to develop a response for a task set by the Shin Bet, whose roles include counter-espionage, counter-terrorism and security for Israeli government officials and diplomatic missions abroad. Tel Aviv University’s venture capital fund TAU Ventures is also involved in the accelerator.

The Shin Bet’s outreach to the private sector follows a similar move by its overseas intelligence counterpart Mossad, which last year set up a fund offering grants of up to 2 million shekels ($548,000) per project to acquire new spy ideas.

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