Knesset committee denies extension to police access to mobile phone location data
Citing privacy concerns, the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee voted to block the Israeli government’s request for an extension to police powers to requisition mobile phone roaming data relating to those ordered to quarantine for enforcement purposes.
Access had been granted for a month, and was due to expire. In the month the police had access, they conducted around 500 random mobile phone location checks per day, drawn from a list of 13,500 people provided by the Health Ministry, which believes that 15% of those ordered to quarantine violate the order.
Police have arrested 203 violators, and said that tracking them down often required access to mobile phone location data, which normally police must apply to courts to acquire. Technology developed by the Israeli security service, Shin Bet, for the purposes of anti-terrorism will continue in use for contact tracing; it’s believed that this technology also involves tracking mobile phones.
Writer: Dan Williams and Ari Rabinovitch