Legal Updates

A private entity which is not a monopoly may refuse to provide a service to a client

February 6, 2022

A blogger in the field of entertainment news in Israel engaged with an advertising network operated by Google which allows site owners to sell advertising space on their sites. After the advertising network froze the blogger’s account and unilaterally terminated the agreement between the parties, the blogger contended that the termination of the agreement constitutes a violation of his freedom of occupation.

The Court held that a civilian entity could not be ordered to provide a service to the user and therefore it will not be ordered that the account be returned to activity. In examining the question of whether a person’s freedom of occupation was violated, a distinction must be made between a decision of a public body or a private body, and a decision to stop providing a certain service and a decision of such a body not to engage with that person in the future. A decision of a public body, or a private body that constitutes a monopoly, or that is unrivaled, may justify their classification as "public service" providers which may entail obligating them to provide the service. A private party, and sometimes even a public body, may refuse to provide service if the decision is duly made, is reasonable and non-arbitrary, and especially when there is an apprehension of further violations by the user and harm to the service provider and its customers. Here, the advertising network, which is a private entity, which despite its great power, has competitors and does not constitute a "public service provider”, has duly terminated the agreement between the parties due to repeated violations by the blogger, and therefore is not obligated to provide service, or to re-commit to providing the service in the future.