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Israel’s Netanyahu slammed for tracking phones of coronavirus patients

March 16, 2020 at 1:49 pm

Israelis wear masks following the coronavirus outbreak in Israel on 2 March 2020 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has yet again sparked controversy over the use of advanced technology to track the phones of Israelis who have bene infected with the coronavirus.

Netanyahu announced on Saturday that the technology, commonly used by the Shin Bet in “counter-terrorism” operations, would help locate people who have been in contact with those carrying the virus and isolate them, Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported.

The paper explained that since the use of such technology would entail infringing the privacy of Israeli citizens who did not commit a “crime”, the government has requested the justice ministry’s approval for employing the tool.

At least 250 Israelis have so far tested positive for the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, with the vast majority of cases mild; thousands have been placed in isolation, and four have recovered. In the occupied West Bank, 39 cases have been diagnosed so far, Haaretz reported today.

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