The Israel Security Agency will end its practice of tracking people who test positive for the coronavirus after the Knesset said it would stop promoting legislation to allow the practice.
Under emergency regulations, the agency has been using phone and credit card data to retroactively track the movement of those who test positive since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim was to find where the infected person had been and who he or she came into contact with in order to stem the spread of the virus. The data only was allowed to be used for tracking the spread of the virus and for a limited time for research purposes.
In mid-March, the Israeli government passed emergency regulations to allow security services to track the cellphones of coronavirus patients. Attorney General Avichai Mandelbilt had approved the move. But a month later, in response to lawsuits against the practice, the Supreme Court ruled that such tracking could only continue if it was enshrined in law, and that the law should have an end date.
At a government meeting on Monday, Israel Security Agency head Nadav Argaman told government ministers of the so-called Corona Cabinet that there was “discomfort” in his agency to continue to track people on cellphones and credit card data while new COVID-19 infections remain relatively low.