Israel plans to use NSO spyware to track and predict the spread of new coronaviruses

So far, more than 6,800 people in Israel have been confirmed to have been infected with the new coronavirus, bringing the death toll to 34, according tomedia. The country now wants to use spyware made by the NSO Group to track everyone in its territory. Earlier this week, Naftali Bennett, Israel’s defense minister, said in a statement that the government was conducting final regulatory approvals to use a new software solution to track citizens and help strengthen social distance.

However, the new software solution was developed by the controversial security company NSO Group, taking it to another level.

Israel plans to use NSO spyware to track and predict the spread of new coronaviruses

Bennett declined to give the company specific name, but local media appeared to confirm that NSO had developed the software tool for the country’s spy agency Unit 8200. The system tracks each person’s steps and analyzes whether they have gone to a place where authorities have identified and identified one or more carriers of the new coronavirus, and the authorities also take the possibility of carrying the virus from 1 to 10.

If a person approaches a known carrier of the virus, he will get 8 or 9 points, and if a person is only in the same area as the carrier, he will get 3 points. This may help predict where new outbreaks are likely and give authorities plenty of time to make informed decisions.

Israel plans to use NSO spyware to track and predict the spread of new coronaviruses

Screenshot of nSO tools

The tool can also be used to decide where to transfer medical resources for ventilators — because even in the world’s richest countries they are in short supply. Areas considered safe will be desegregated in order to minimize the impact of the economic blockade.

However, people in some communities live in low-tech lives, which means there is no device to track them. Some estimate that the Israeli Government can actually track only 70 per cent of the population.

Shalev Hulio, chief executive of the NSO Group, believes the company provides the necessary privacy protections, and its software tools do appear to be using anonymous data. Hulio noted that they will not listen in on the phone, and while he expects Israel’s decision to track its people to be of concern, he says it is necessary to save lives.