Israel Can Track Cellphones Of Citizens With Coronavirus, Its Supreme Court Rules


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Supreme Court will allow the country’s internal security agency to track the cellphones of Israelis who are infected with the coronavirus.

On Tuesday, the court lifted an injunction against the practice approved last week by the government. The aim is to find where the infected person was and who he or she came into contact with in order to stem the spread of the virus.

Critics have said the tracking would infringe on civil liberties.

The court agreed to allow the surveillance by the Israel Security Agency, or Shin Bet, after the Knesset convened and formed committees that would allow for oversight. But the justices said that if the parliament does not introduce legislation in the coming weeks allowing such surveillance, it would again place an injunction on the practice.

The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee will review the practice on Thursday, The Times of Israel reported.

The court also ruled that police may use cellphone information to track Israelis who are supposed to be in quarantine to ensure compliance, though it suggested minimal usage.