Israel using phone surveillance to track coronavirus patient contacts

Israel’s Health Ministry says it has used controversial surveillance technology for the first time in its fight to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The ministry said it had sent text messages to around 400 individuals whom it had determined were in contact with coronavirus carriers.

Early this week, the Israeli Cabinet authorized the Shin Bet security agency to use its phone-surveillance technology to identify people who had come into contact with people infected with coronavirus. The technology previously had been used to track Palestinian militants.

The government says the tactic is strictly supervised and meant to save lives. But opposition lawmakers and civil rights advocates say it is a violation of privacy.


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