In response to the Coronavirus, the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu suggested in a Press Briefing that it might be a good idea to place sensors on children like the sensors that are on vehicles, which make a noise when an individual gets to close to the car.
However, cyber experts are warning against such an idea because; “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,” cyber expert Einat Meron said.
“I spoke with our heads of technology in order to find measures Israel is good at, such as sensors. For instance, 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,” the prime minister said.
“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,” cyber resilience expert Einat Meron told Ynet.
“Theoretically, I get the idea behind it,” she said. “But although such distance-sensitive microchips exist in vehicles, it is different in humans.” According to Meron, “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.”
The expert added that “the actual issue is the enforcement, and here everything changes.” Meron told Ynet that “microchipping children will not pass any test – both practically and legally.” Similar to Meron’s notion that notifying citizens on their distance will not affect their actions, many fear the state would make use of the information available from the sensors.
“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 said. “Can the state take responsibility for that?”
The office of the Prime Minister responded to the report and said it “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, like Mobileye with vehicles.”
The office says that the suggestion is merely “an idea that may help maintain social distancing, and there will not be any violation of privacy.”