Combating Intrusive Cellphone Surveillance

A petition by NIF grantees Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and Adalah: The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights has become the first-ever Supreme Court hearing to be broadcast live in Israel.

Their petition opposes measures by the Israeli police and the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal intelligence agency, to track Israeli citizens infected with coronavirus and those who have come in contact with them, as well as those in compulsory self-isolation.

While public health policies intended to curb the spread of coronavirus are important and justified, these intrusive surveillance measures are government overreach, using the COVID-19 pandemic as cover for rolling back civil liberties.

The Supreme Court agreed to live-stream the hearing because the Ministry of Health restrictions on public gatherings meant that the public could not attend the session in person.

In the hearing, ACRI argued that the government would not be able to resist the temptation to use the information gathered to combat the coronavirus for other unchecked purposes. ACRI added that such surveillance of citizens stands in complete contradiction of democratic government. The court is yet to hand down it is ruling.

April 2020