Benjamin Netanyahu Suggests Israeli Citizens Wear Sensors to Prevent Close Contact as Country Reopens

Milton Quintanilla | Contributor for | Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Benjamin Netanyahu, Netanyahu pitches some controversial measures as Israel begins to open back up

Benjamin Netanyahu Suggests Israeli Citizens Wear Sensors to Prevent Close Contact as Country Reopens

As Israel begins to gradually reopen, some controversial measures are being proposed in the continuing fight against COVID-19.

CBN News reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has suggested the placement of sensors on people – including and with emphasis on children – in order to prevent close contact between Israeli citizens.

In a speech last week, Netanyahu shared that he "spoke with our heads of technology in order to find measures Israel is good at, such as sensors.”

The sensors, he noted, would be activated when people got too close to one another.

“Every person, every kid – I want it on kids first – would have a sensor that would sound an alarm when you get too close, like the ones on cars," Netanyahu added, according to the Jerusalem Post.

“I don’t know if this is possible,” he continued, “We’re checking this, we’re trying this, but we can through different means guard [against] the transmission of corona.”

In a statement to Ynet, cyber resilience expert Einat Meron noted several concerns about the sensor's function on humans.

"Theoretically, I get the idea behind it. But although such distance-sensitive microchips exist in vehicles, it is different in humans."

She continued, "a beeping sound telling me I got close to someone is not enough. Who says it will change anything? I would have gotten closer either way."

Meron also noted that the sensors would not work for children returning to school.

"It will be hard to do it to more than a million schoolchildren who return to their educational institutions in order to ensure one student sits at the distance of two meters from another. It is fictional and dangerous,” she explained.

Another concern is that pedophiles could use the sensors’ information to stalk children.

"If the information with the kids' location is uploaded to the internet, a pedophile with some cyber knowledge may invade the system and stalk them outside their schools, follow them and distribute the information on other platforms," Meron warned, according to the Jerusalem Post.

“Can the state take responsibility for that?" she questioned.

In response to Meron’s comments, the office of the Prime Minister asserted that the microchip data “is not to be implemented through databases, but through simple technology notifying [the citizens] about their distance.”

“It is a voluntary option that is designed to help children keep their distance,” the office added.

In similar fashion, Israel’s Security Agency Shin Bet was permitted to track the phones of those infected with COVID-19 in order to make those who come into contact with infected persons aware.

The High Court later asserted that legislation must be passed to regulate such tracking.

Last Tuesday, a three-week extension of the phone tracking was approved by the Knesset’s secret service subcommittee.

There are currently more than 16,000 cases of COVID-19 in Israel with some 250 deaths reported. The rate of infection appears to be on the decline in the country.

So far, malls, gyms and markets have been given permission to re-open in accordance with temperature checks and social distancing guidelines.

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Amir Levy/Stringer

Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.