Israel stops controversial technology to track omicron variants

JERUSALEM (AP)-Israel said on Thursday that it will stop using a controversial phone tracking technology to track possible cases of a variant of the new coronavirus.

Earlier this week, the government approved travel restrictions and authorized the country’s internal security agencies to use phone surveillance technology to track people infected with the omicron variant in Israel.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office said in a statement that emergency measures to authorize “cell surveillance” for people infected with omicron and those who may have been in contact with these cases will arrive at midnight. Expect.

After the Cabinet approved this approach on Tuesday based on emergency measures, it was decided to change Shin Bet’s tracking route. A government inspector has publicly opposed the implementation of the technology, saying it is invalid.

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz said on Twitter: “From the very beginning, I noticed that the use of this tool will be limited and short-lived — lasting a few days in order to obtain urgent information to Stop the infection of this new unknown variant.”

He said, “In addition to protecting health, we must also protect privacy and human rights, even in emergencies.”

Israeli human rights organizations condemned the use of this technology as a violation of privacy, which can track where a person has been and who has been seen. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled to restrict its use.

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