Workers are shown on March 16 using disinfectant on Jerusalem’s light-rail system. (Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Tracking Coronavirus by Tracking Patients (AUDIO INTERVIEW)

The Media Line speaks with the head of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel about a controversial new plan to monitor cellphone movement

The coronavirus statistics in Israel are rising, with over 300 confirmed cases, but as of now no deaths.

The country was one of the first to ban foreigners arriving from hard-hit locales like China, South Korea and Italy, and send all returning citizens to quarantine. It has since closed all schools and banned gatherings of more than 10 people.

Now, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has ordered the collection of tracking data from the cellphones of coronavirus patients. By cross-referencing the ownership of cellphones shown to have come in close proximity, he says, others can be informed that they have been exposed.

Such technology is currently used to track terrorists, and it is understood that the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic spy service, will now be involved in tracking suspected exposure to coronavirus. This has critics up in arms, not only over potential data misuse, but the weakening of checks and balances.

To learn more, The Media Line spoke with Attorney Sharon Abraham-Weiss, executive director of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.

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