Privacy issues swirl as Netanyahu proposes tracking technology to fight virus

“Using special technological means is far-reaching and harms peoples’ privacy on every level,” said MK Revital Swid.

By Aaron Sull, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposal to use tracking technology to monitor citizens during the coronavirus outbreak has sparked controversy.

Former MK Stav Shaffir (Green Party) said, “The use of the ‘special’ means Netanyahu spoke about to follow civilians(!) is a horrific idea. Everyone should oppose it.

“The fact that someone charged with bribery and breach of trust is making such a decision only adds to the insanity. ‘Doctor Shock’: Rulership uses the civilians’ panic in this situation in order to steal their privacy. Later – cancel the trial. After that – the democracy.”

MK Revital Swid (Labor-Gesher) tweeted: “We need to handle the coronavirus and protect the public health, but we cannot take lightly this unusual and draconian step that the Justice Ministry is considering: Using special technological means is far-reaching and harms people’s privacy on every level.

“Under the guise of digital monitoring, they will know everything about us, and without a judge’s order and without any judicial supervision. It’s insane.”

In a televised address last night, Netanyahu said Israel is tightening its measures to fight the coronavirus. He said he was consulting with the Justice Ministry regarding the use of advanced Taiwanese tracking technology that traces the paths of coronavirus patients.

Read  Biden to meet Netanyahu after COVID quarantine, Harris to push Palestinian 'self-determination'

The technology in question, already in use by Tawain, allows authorities to pinpoint where an individual is at all times by tracking cell phones, credit cards, and other such personal items.

Netanyahu argues that the technology would better help the government limit the spread of the coronavirus by tracking infected people in real-time.

MK Ayelet Shaked of the Yemina party said that she will personally supervise the implementation of the technology, if approved, adding that it would be done in a “minimal and controlled fashion” and that all personal information would be destroyed after the coronavirus is neutralized.

“Technologically tracking coronavirus patients is an extreme step and severely harms privacy, but it may save peoples’ lives and save the country a lot of money – which will translate at the end of the day into saving lives,” Shaked said.