Shin Bet Coronavirus Tracking Law Put on Hold

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli police guard at a roadblock in Yerushalayim, in an attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, May 1.
(Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The government has decided to freeze work in the Knesset on a law that would allow the police and Shin Bet to use phone tracking for coronavirus contact tracing.

The move comes after ministers failed to agree on a version of the bill to pursue, and a subcommittee gave the government an extra 48 hours to propose the legislation.

The law was needed after the High Court said that the Knesset could not continue to allow surveillance of potential coronavirus patients without a law in place.

At the end of May, the Knesset’s subcommittee for intelligence authorized an extension, if the government will submit legislation by June 8, Monday.

During that meeting, Professor Sigal Sadecki, Professor of Medicine and Head of Public Health Services at the Health Ministry, highlighted the need for the Health Ministry to continue relying on the Shin Bet’s assistance, saying that while the duration of the epidemiologic investigation of those who test positive has greatly improved and it now takes a day and a quarter to complete, the Shin Bet’s tracking has been very useful since a person cannot remember or even be aware of everyone he was diagnosed, while tracking the telephone signals can.