Israel’s Supreme Court rules on phone spying case
The Supreme Court of Israel has concluded that mobile phone tracking with a view to curb Omicron’s spread does not pose a threat to people’s privacy rights, and therefore rejected a petition filed by human rights organizations.
The judgment on whether to cancel the government’s decision and to prevent the domestic security service Shin Bet from spying again on cell phones was issued on Monday. The current permission expires on Thursday but is set to be extended to allow the intelligence service to trace those infected with a Covid variant and their close contacts.
“It has not been proven that the Shin Bet authorization poses a disproportionate infringement on the right to privacy which would justify its striking down,” reads the Supreme Court statement on the petition, as quoted by local media.
Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has announced reauthorization of phone tracking as part of a package of measures poised to curb Omicron’s spread.
This technology was used by Shin Bet throughout the pandemic, with a court in March limiting the scope of surveillance due to concerns over privacy raised by human rights defenders.