Circumventing parliament in March as the coronavirus spread, the Israeli cabinet approved emergency regulations that enabled the use of the Shin Bet technology, usually deployed for anti-terrorism. Privacy watchdog groups have challenged the practice in court as lawmakers considered ratifying it.
An Israeli official said the tracking was stopped following a ministerial meeting on the coronavirus on Monday at which Shin Bet director Nadav Argaman argued that the method was not required as infections taper off under other counter-measures.
“This (tracking) will be renewed only if there is a big outbreak, at which point snap legislation would be required in parliament,” said the official, who requested anonymity.
Israel – with a population of 9 million – has reported 18,091 coronavirus cases and 299 deaths. A limited resurgence prompted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to put the brakes on moves to reverse closures of schools and businesses.