Israel resumes plan to use Shin Bet to track coronavirus spread


On June 24, Israeli ministers reversed a previous decision and unanimously decided to support controversial legislation allowing the Israeli security service Shin Bet to track civilians’ phones to help curb the spread of the coronavirus after a new spike in infections. On June 30 the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee voted to advance the legislation, which must go on to pass its second and third readings. The legislation is designated as “temporary” and will last until July 22 while the committee works on a more comprehensive bill that would include checks and privacy protections for the tracking programme. The bill only allows the Shin Bet to be deployed if other contact tracing efforts fail, though the prime minister can ask the committee to add further criteria. Shin Bet has asked the government to find a civilian alternative, as its technology was developed for counter-terrorism, not to track the general population of Israeli citizens.
Writer: TOI Staff
Publication: Times of Israel