Coronavirus Cellphone Surveillance Halted in Israel, Claims Official

The deadly virus outbreak has created a major stir around the world in recent times infecting people in more than 170 countries

The internal security service of Israel Shin Bet has paused the cell-phone tracking of the coronavirus or COVID-19 carriers, an official stated on Tuesday, citing the success of the alternatives to the controversial way of curbing the novel deadly virus.

Circumventing parliament in March as the COVID-19 spread, the cabinet of Israel approved the emergency regulations, which enabled the usage of Shin Bet technology, usually deployed for the anti-terrorism. The privacy watchdog groups have challenged the practice in the court as lawmakers thought of approving it.

Shin Bet Mobile Tracking of COVID-19 Carriers

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An Israeli official said the tracking was stopped following a ministerial meeting on the coronavirus on Monday at which Shin Bet director Nadav Argaman argued that the method was not required as infections taper off under other counter-measures. "This (tracking) will be renewed only if there is a big outbreak, at which point snap legislation would be required in parliament," said the official, who requested anonymity.

Israel - with a population of nine million - has reported 18,091 coronavirus cases and 299 deaths. A limited resurgence prompted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to put the brakes on moves to reverse closures of schools and businesses.

(With agency inputs)

Related topics : Coronavirus