Knesset Approves Cellphone Tracking of COVID-19 Carriers for Rest of 2020

A man speaks on his cellphone in Yerushalayim. (Lior Mizrahi/Flash90)

The Knesset plenum on Monday night gave final approval to a bill authorizing the Shin Bet to assist in the national efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

After all the reservations to the bill were rejected, it passed its second and third readings by a vote of 48 MKs in favor to 23 against.

Under the terms of the bill, which will be valid until January 20, 2021, the prime minister and the alternate prime minister will present to the government a proposal to grant the Shin Bet this authorization for a period that shall not exceed 21 days. The authorization may be extended. Following the government’s approval, the decision will be transferred to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Once the security agency obtains the authorization, the Health Ministry will be permitted to transfer to the Shin Bet a request for assistance in conducting an epidemiological investigation, provided that the number of new patients on the day the request is submitted, or the day prior to that, surpasses 200.

Within the framework of the legislation, the Health Ministry is obligated to launch the HaMagen 2.0 civilian application for tracking coronavirus patients within a week from the bill’s approval in the Knesset plenum​, distribute the app and promote its use by the general public.

The bill also determines that anyone who receives a message saying he/she is obligated to go into self-quarantine may ask the Health Ministry to reexamine the data on which the decision was based. The Health Ministry will be required to send a detailed response within 24 hours.


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