One of the tenets of the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry is privacy and freedom. And now, privacy is at risk again. This time it’s thanks to the highly contagious Coronavirus that has shaken both the global stock market and crypto markets.
As the global pandemic continues to spread at a very high rate, governments of each country are taking drastic measures to fight the virus to prevent further spreads. One such move is to spy on the civilian population by tracking their movement through their private phones and other cyber measures.
Israel To Track Citizens’ Using Phone Data
During the weekend, the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, announced that the government would start to track the movement of people who tested positive for the Coronavirus through the use of their cell phones and other digital technologies.
This move, which is considered an “emergency measure” in the country, will also include those who had made contact with patients within 14 days before their test results. Per the announcement, though, this action to track Israeli citizens will only be valid for 30 days and during the period of the Covid-19 health crisis.
The report further stated that the Shin Bet security service, an Israeli domestic intelligence agency authorized and approved by the government for the project is not allowed to use the data obtained from patients for other purposes, but will strictly send them to the country’s ministry of health.
Using Counter-Terror Tools For Citizens
While any violation or data breach by the Shin Bet security service is considered a criminal offense, the move to monitor people’s personal data through their phones has raised a lot of questions over privacy. But why wouldn’t it?
According to Haaretz, the cyber tech being deployed is “usually used for counter-terror” in the country. Still, it is now used to monitor people who tested positive and those around them. This is more serious than the regular police geofencing approach considering that it is an excellent intel solution used against terrorism.
Although Netanyahu believes this move is effective and will help locate those with the virus and isolate them from others, such measure is violating the privacy of citizens.
Israel Not The First, Will The US Be Next?
Israel is the latest country to deploy sophisticated intel solutions to track the movement of its citizens as a measure to contain the coronavirus outbreak. China and South Korea have also adopted geofencing tools to monitor the personal phones of affected persons. Perhaps what makes Israel’s move seemingly worrying is the fact that it is the state of the art tool used for counter-terror.
With more countries continuously implementing phone tracking systems to monitor the spread of the virus, it might not be long before the United States becomes inspired by the idea.
For one thing, Americans do not take issues about personal data and privacy lightly. This could cause panic if the US authorities choose to use similar intel tools like that of Israel to monitor citizens. Unless, of course, the government will have to adopt other forms of digital surveillance that does not involve privacy violation.