Making sure people self isolate is part of the process in terms of trying to make sure coronavirus doesn’t spread any more quickly than it already is. But it’s difficult to know who needs to isolate. Now Israel plans to use cellular location data to work out who is most at risk.

According to The New York Times, the data will be used by the Shin Bet, the country’s security agency, to trace where people have been once they are diagnosed with coronavirus.

During that process they will be able to ascertain who they have been in contact with and who is most likely to be infected. Those people will then be notified via text message that they should self isolate.

While some might find this deeply concerning, officials say that it’s all in the name of making sure fewer people die through the infection.

“The use of advanced Shin Bet technologies is intended for one purpose only: saving lives,” said a senior security official, who insisted on anonymity to discuss such a sensitive matter. “In this way, the spread of the virus in Israel can be narrowed, quickly and efficiently. This is a focused, time-limited and limited activity that is monitored by the government, the attorney general and the Knesset’s regulatory mechanisms.”

While the tracking of location data is usually used to help target ads, this is at least a better use case for all of that information. The real problem will be when everything is back to normal and it comes time to put a lid back on this particular genie bottle

(Source: NYT)

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