Knesset Approves Second Round of Shin Bet Surveillance

A man walks past a sign in downtown Yerushalayim that reads: “I have no other land.” (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Knesset voted its approval on Wednesday night for renewal of the use of Shin Bet surveillance technology in tracking coronavirus cases.

Although health officials had said the technology was highly effective in identifying people who had been infected so that they could be notified they should go into quarantine, privacy concerns impelled legislators to suspend the program.

With the current resurgence of the virus, pressure has mounted to reintroduce the surveillance on a temporary basis with appropriate safeguards.

The measure passed 58-38 with the understanding that it will be only for three weeks as a stopgap until an app from a private firm is ready to replace it.

The law stipulates that the Shin Bet can only be deployed if other contact tracing efforts prove ineffective, but adds that Prime Minister Netanyahu can request an expansion of the criteria needed for the Shin Bet to track people.