More than 500 coronavirus patients have been identified in Israel so far by a controversial digital mass-surveillance program, the Shin Bet internal security service revealed on Thursday.
“Without quickly finding them and putting them into quarantine, they surely would have unknowingly infected many more people,” a Shin Bet statement said.
The Shin Bet noted it had been working with the Health Ministry over the past two weeks to track — using cellphone and credit card data, among other information — the movements of Israelis who had tested positive for coronavirus and others who had been in their vicinity.
Critics of the program have largely focused on privacy concerns.
A ruling by Israel’s High Court of Justice earlier this week allowed the program to continue.