High Court green lights virus surveillance as Knesset oversight panels formed

The High Court of Justice lifts its injunction barring police from using Israelis’ cellphone locations to track whether they are breaking coronavirus quarantine.

Last Thursday, the High Court handed down an injunction, stating that it would shutter the government’s new mass surveillance program if Israel’s parliament failed to establish parliamentary oversight over it within five days.

Those oversight panels were created on Tuesday by lawmakers, prompting the court to pull its objections.

Hours before the injunction, the Shin Bet security service had been ordered to begin digitally tracking the movements of Israelis in an effort to keep tabs on the spread of the new coronavirus through the population. The tracking, done through the location data of Israelis’ cellphones, aims to alert and order into quarantine people who, in the previous two weeks, were within two meters for 10 minutes or more of someone who turns out to have the virus.

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