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Deputy AG: Shin Bet tracking ‘very problematic,’ but Omicron is an exceptional case

17 5 28

Israel’s deputy attorney general said Tuesday that there were “many problematic things” about the renewed use of phone tracking by the Shin Bet security service to locate suspected cases of the new variant of the coronavirus, but added that Omicron was an “exceptional case.”

Ministers on Sunday approved the reintroduction of the Shin Bet program, after a similar plan was utilized in the early stages of the pandemic. According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the program is set to expire on Thursday at midnight but will also be subject to reexamination each day. If there is a “wide breakout,” the program will be discontinued, the PMO said, without detailing what that term entails. Confirmed carriers of other strains are not being tracked, nor are those who were exposed to carriers of Omicron or any other version of the coronavirus.

Several coalition members, including four ministers, oppose the tracking, saying it violates citizens’ privacy.

On Tuesday morning, the government approved legislation that would enable the tracking to continue beyond the current Thursday deadline and under a permanent law, rather than under emergency regulations. That bill is set to go up for a Knesset vote in the coming days.

During a discussion on the new legislation at the Knesset’s powerful Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Deputy Attorney General Raz Nizri said the implementation of the tracking was “very problematic.”

“In a democratic country, the Shin Bet should not be acting at all against civilians except for terror cases, but every rule has an exception, and this is the case at the moment,” he said.

“Even if emergency regulations are activated in coordination with the attorney general, they don’t replace the........

© The Times of Israel

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