Privacy Protection Authority: The “Shield 2” application must be activated immediately


The Privacy Protection Authority was appointed, for the first time in its history, in primary legislation, to present its opinion regarding aspects of the invasion of privacy and alternatives to a team of ministers, which is discussing the extension of GSS positions.

In its opinion, the Authority notes that the immediate implementation of the “Shield 2.0” application is preferable to the continued use of GSS personnel, the opinion points to the fact that none of the technological alternatives is perfect and therefore the alternative that infringes on privacy is preferable, along with other measures including epidemiological investigations.

By virtue of the authority granted, for the first time, to the Privacy Protection Authority in the General Security Service Authorization Law to assist in the national effort to reduce the spread of the new corona virus (Temporary Order), 2020, the Authority submitted an opinion to the ministerial staff appointed in accordance with the law. Professional reference to the degree of invasion of privacy involved in the continuation of GSS assistance and the existing alternatives. According to the law, the ministerial staff is required to consider the opinion of the authority, in order to make a decision regarding the possibility of continuing to extend the assistance of the GSS to prevent the spread of the virus.

In the opinion, the Authority emphasizes that the GSS measures currently taken by the State of Israel to locate those who came into contact with a Corona patient in the period prior to his diagnosis, entail a very serious invasion of the privacy of all citizens of the state. The “Shield 2.0” version should be launched immediately, as given the existing alternatives – it is immeasurably preferable to using an offensive security body surveillance tool that is not designed for this purpose.

With regard to the complementary measures currently being considered, the Authority believes that before implementing them as part of a comprehensive solution, an in-depth review is needed to analyze their impact on privacy and that the Authority should be integrated into the characterization and development of these measures.

The Authority notes that the “Shield” 2 widget was developed by the Ministry of Health while maintaining the design principles for privacy, in a way that allows for effective detection of contacts in an immediate time frame, while at the same time optimally preserving the privacy of users.

The latest widget is designed to weight location and proximity data in a way that will dramatically increase contact efficiency compared to other alternatives. Although it is still necessary to improve the said widget both in terms of technology and in terms of privacy protection and information security, at this time, and given the other alternatives currently available for fast operation – the authority trusts this widget.

The Authority notes that the widget is ready for operation but has not yet been launched and in accordance with what is stated in this opinion – the Authority calls for its operation and assimilation among the public immediately.

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