Israel approves personal data collection of citizens by domestic spy agencies to fight coronavirus

WION Web Team
Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel Published: Apr 01, 2020, 08:33 AM(IST)

Benjamin Netanyahu Photograph:( AFP )

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Last month, Israel's internal security agency Shin Bet had confirmed that it was mandated to collect information about citizens to fight the spread of the COVID-19 in the country

Israel's parliamentary committee on Tuesday approved the collection of personal data on citizens by domestic spy agencies to fight the coronavirus epidemic.

Also Read: How Israel's elite spy agency Mossad is fighting coronavirus

Last month, Israel's internal security agency Shin Bet had confirmed that it was mandated to collect information about citizens to fight the spread of the COVID-19 in the country, a controversial move which critics say will invade a person's privacy even during an emergency.

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The move was declared by PM Netanyahu under emergency regulations after a parliamentary committee had earlier refused to give it final approval.

The PM's decision was challenged by Rights groups even as the country's top court ordered parliament to create an oversight committee to consider whether to authorise digital surveillance.

The Knesset panel approved the decision allowing "Shin Bet to help in efforts to halt the spread of coronavirus for a month" until April 30, parliament's foreign affairs and defence committee said in a statement.

The Blue and White party of Benny Gantz had earlier denounced the measure as "a dangerous decision" taken without parliamentary oversight.

Isreal has 5,385 cases of coronavirus in the country with twenty deaths so far. The number of confirmed infections has been rising fast in the country.

The COVID-19 crisis was exacerbated after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was put under precautionary quarantine on Monday. Netanyahu's office stressed that quarantine was strictly a precaution.

Israel parliament Knesset in a statement said that lawmakers and parliamentary employees have been instructed to follow the health ministry's orders and self-quarantine.

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