Israel | Mind, Body & Spirit

Israeli government moves to allow tracking of cell phones to fight coronavirus

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israeli Cabinet approved a measure that will allow the Israel Security Agency, or Shin Bet, to track the cell phones of Israelis who are infected with coronavirus.

The agency would not require a court order to perform the surveillance and it will be limited in the scope of information it can collect, who would have access to it, and what it can be used for, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

After approval of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Subcommittee on the Secret Services, the authorization would be valid for 30 days.

Under the authorization, the agency would be allowed to use cell towers to track the movements of those infected with the coronavirus and who they came in contact with before going into quarantine. Anyone who came within about six feet of an infected person for more than ten minutes would receive a message telling them to self-quarantine, the Times of Israel reported.

The decision prompted criticism that the measure would infringe on civil liberties.