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Israel to enshrine in law Shin Bet’s coronavirus tracking

Israeli government on Monday set to approve a motion that would enshrine in law the domestic security’s tracking of cellphones belonging to confirmed virus carries, after the country’s top court ruled the surveillance cannot continue otherwise.

The High Court of Justice ruled Sunday that the Shin Bet’s tracking of COVID-19 patients cannot continue unless the government anchors the highly controversial practice into law.

However, the panel of three justices, led by Supreme Court Justice Esther Hayut, granted the government an extension on condition that it begins the legislative process.

The eventual law must allow journalists to protect their sources by preventing their cell phone data from being handed over to the Shin Bet, though the issue would be on a case-by-case basis, the court determined.

The court ruling came following a number of petitions filed by rights groups against the tracking, which has been temporarily authorized under emergency orders as part of the efforts to curb coronavirus.

Last Thursday, Knesset approved the continued use of the tracking technology until Tuesday.

Defense and Foreign Affairs committee head MK Gabi Ashkenazi said that epidemiological investigations and testing should be broadened as an alternative to the Shin Bet tracking.

Source: Itamar Eichner – YNETnews