On Sunday, the Israeli cabinet had an emergency settlement administration. As a result, the Israeli domestic intelligence agency is now allowed to track the location data of all Israeli cell phone users in order to lose people who have stayed themselves for ten minutes and less than two meters from a person who received the virus positive.
Netanyahu Announced Controversial Cell Phone Surveillance
The activities of the court system had already been restricted on Saturday, because of the corona crisis. But many Israelis consider the restriction to be politically motivated. They fear that Netanyahu will try to save himself from the corruption process that was supposed to start on Tuesday, but has now been adjourned. Netanyahu announced controversial cell phone surveillance on Saturday. The government is using digital methods that are normally used in the fight against terrorism and which are so far refrained from using in the civilian population.
Cell phone operators in Israel are required to cooperate with the government. Therefore, no new law had to be passed for the project. In addition, this form of radio cell surveillance is already being used in other territories. The only new thing is that Israeli citizens are now also affected. The cabinet decreed that location data may only be collected during the corona crisis. The use of digital tools is initially allowed for 1 month. In addition, the secret service may only use the data in the fight against the spread of the corona virus. The big question is whether the data will not be used for other purposes, because the surveillance is in the hands of the secret service. The planned mass surveillance is a huge cut in privacy. To provide the data on who was near infected people, the government need to have the complete database of all the whereabouts of everyone in Israel.
“We must preserve the balance between individual rights and general needs, and we are doing so,” Netanyahu said yesterday at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, where the plan was announced.
The cell phone providers provide information on which signal strength a cell phone was connected to. Because a cell phone in cities is connected to several signals at the same time, so that the location of the person can be determined within a few meters.