Cellebrite offers Israeli government help with quarantine enforcement
The Israeli company Cellebrite, best known for providing hacking software to help law enforcement agencies get inside suspects' iPhones, is now pitching its technology to help authorities pull the location data and contacts off the phones of newly-diagnosed COVID-19 patients in order to "quarantine the right people", as the company emailed to the Delhi police force.
Cellebrite is one of at least eight surveillance and cyber-intelligence companies that are attempting to repurpose their technologies and market them as tools to track the virus and enforce quarantine. NSO Group (Israel) and Intellexa (Cyprus) are pitching COVID-19 tracking platforms that would enable governments to track the movements of nearly every cellphone-carrying person in the country via their call records to countries across Asia, Latin America, and Europe.
New York's Verint Systems offered Indian officials a $5 million set of services including a cellphone tower geolocation platform and a programme to monitor social media. Three more Israeli companies, Rayzone Group, Cobwebs Technologies, and Patternz are also offering countries tracking capabilities, mostly relying on location data gathered from mobile advertising platforms.
Writer: Joel Schectman, Christopher Bing, and Jack Stubbs