Three Countries Have Started Tracking Citizens' Phones to Fight Coronavirus

As the coronavirus continues to make its way throughout many countries in the world, governments are doing everything that they can to control the virus from spreading too far, which is a good thing.

I'm the type of person who want the government to stay out of our business, but I recognize there are some circumstances when it is their duty to step in and protect the American people.

However, some governments are going too far.

Three countries have already started spying on their citizens' by tracking their locations using their phones to see if they're following lockdown policies. These countries are China, Iran, and now Israel.

According to Forbes,

“All means will be used to fight the spread of the coronavirus,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on March 14, “including technological means, digital means, and other means that until today I have refrained from using among the civilian population.” As Haaretz reported, this means Israel will now unleash cyber tech “usually used for counter-terror” to enforce quarantines and to check the movements of people testing positive for the virus.

Following the announcement, the country’s Attorney General “approved the use of cyber measures to track patients' phones,” essentially green-lighting Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence service, to actively track citizens by geolocating their cellphones and, one can assume, to build a database of where and when. The same intel can also be used to determine who else was in the vicinity of a known patient on a timeline, establishing potential infections, although such measures were not spelled out in any of the announcements today.

And, just like, that Israel joins Iran and China in the deployment of state-level intel gathering tools to track its population as it tries to prevent its coronavirus outbreak from getting out of control. Geolocating phones is a simple tech—in tandem with the carriers, the granularity can be pretty precise in urban locations. The fact this is being presented as a counter-terror intel tool suggests it is more than just a basic policing-level solution, more than just simple geofencing.

Let's hope that the U.S. won't be next on this list and that we don't begin losing more of our freedoms.

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