בדיקות קורונה ברמת השרון
A coronavirus testing site in Ramat Hasharon outside Tel Aviv
Photo: AFP
A coronavirus testing site in Ramat Hasharon outside Tel Aviv

Shin Bet contact tracing extended despite launch of civilian alternative

Intelligence minister says tracking to continue until at least 1/3 of smartphone users install app; Magen 2 allows Israelis to voluntarily provide data about whereabouts in case of virus infection

Itamar Eichner |
Published: 07.20.20 , 22:52
A ministerial committee voted on Monday to extend the Shin Bet security agency's contact tracing of coronavirus patients despite the Health Ministry launching a less intrusive contact tracing app.
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  • A Shin Bet representative told the meeting that the system has tracked over 6,000 confirmed cases so far and is instrumental in breaking chains of contagion.
    בדיקות קורונה ברמת השרוןבדיקות קורונה ברמת השרון
    A coronavirus testing site in Ramat Hasharon outside Tel Aviv
    (Photo: AFP)
    Magen 2, which is expected to be launched next week, will allow Israelis to voluntarily provide the Health Ministry data about their whereabouts in case they contract coronavirus.
    Although Magen's debut version raised concerns over user data breaches, a Privacy Protection Authority official said that Magen 2 has met the necessary requirements to protect citizens' privacy.
    "The information is saved only on the phone and only the phone's owner receives a notification in case they were possibly exposed to coronavirus," said an official involved in the app's development. "The data is transferred to the ministry as part of their epidemiological investigation only after the infection has been confirmed."
    Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen said that the Shin Bet will continue tracking citizens until at least one-third of all smartphone users have agreed to install the app.
    מתחם היבדק וסע תל אביבמתחם היבדק וסע תל אביב
    Testing for coronavirus at a drive-through facility in Tel Aviv
    (Photo: Yuval Chen)
    Cohen added that foreign nationals and returning Israelis should install Magen 2 upon their arrival in the country.
    National Security Council Director Meir Ben-Shabbat said that if most Israelis adopt Magen, it would become an effective tracking system that could save lives.
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