Feb 26, 2021
The Israeli government is pushing a plan to provide either tracking bracelets or key-chains with a tracking chip for people without smartphones reports Ynet. A trial is currently underway for three wearable surveillance technologies that will warn the user of exposure to someone infected with covid. Eli Cohen, Israel’s Minister of Intelligence, told Ynet that using complementary surveillance technologies is required in Israel due to the relatively high amount of people without smart phones, who are unable to download the “Shield” application which is currently being used for contract tracing. Currently,Only three other countries have begun using tracking technology via bracelets or key-chains.

An upgraded version of the “Shield” contact tracing app, known as “The Shield 2”, will be operational this week and its use will be voluntary. The government will accompany the the app’s launch in an advertising campaign which will cost NIS 8 million ($2.3 M), hoping to convince the Israeli people to install “Shield 2” out of social responsibility. Cohen claims that the pilot program’s intention is to replace the use of Shabak (GSS) surveillance devices aiming for at least 30 percent of all smartphone owners in Israel (about 1.7 million people) to install the app and use it. He estimates that this will be the case within three months of launching the app.

The secure application in its latest version is based on Bluetooth technology that is installed in smart devices allowing mutual identification between two smartphones. The technology will complement the usage of GPS data. The app reportedly has been upgraded and its energy consumption has been reduced preventing it from draining the device’s battery quickly. According to Cohen, the accuracy of the “Shield 2” app is more advanced than the Shabak’s current method, as the app has the capability of identifying proximity to a confirmed covid patient even in crowded areas and inside structures.