Smotrich: 'Tracking device won't threaten personal privacy'

Smotrich stressed the tracking device would not constitute a "Big Brother"-type mechanism.

Eitan Divinsky ,

Yoni Kempinski

Hebrew News Site Kipa reported that Transportation Minister MK Bezalel Smotrich announced Sunday that after lengthy consultations, the government had approved an electronic prevention mechanism to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The device will track individuals diagnosed with the virus, but according to Smotrich, it is a relatively subtle tool.

"After seven hours of professional consultations, in-depth discussions, and [integrating] institutional reservations and safeguards, the government has approved the electronic prevention mechanism for the corona's expansion. I can reassure you: there is no 'Big Brother' in the State of Israel, not even in an extreme case like the one we are up against" he stated.

Smotrich acknowledged that the mechanism is a default measure taken in light of the severity of the situation: "We will make it clear that this is still an extreme step, justified by the extreme and dangerous reality we are in, and that it is our responsibility to save the lives of tens of thousands of civilians. That it will only be done for this purpose. In the frameworks of the specific situation, challenges, punishments, and in tight and structured supervision within the apparatus."

Note that while the request for citizen surveillance has been approved, Prime Minister Netanyahu has asked for a more delicate step than originally envisioned. In light of Netanyahu's request, the ISA will not enforce quarantines or quarantine procedures. Either way, the ISA's authority to monitor the virus will not exceed a 30-day period from its final approval.