COVID-19 surveillance in Israeli press: Spatiality, mobility, and control

Aya Yadlin, Avi Marciano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

In March 2020, Israel passed emergency regulations authorizing its internal security agency to track citizens’ mobile phone geolocations in order to tackle the spread of COVID-19. This unprecedented surveillance enterprise attracted extensive media attention and sparked a vigorous public debate regarding technology and democratic values such as privacy, mobility, and control. This article examines press coverage of Israel’s surveillance of its citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic by four leading news sites to identify and map the frames that informed their reports. Based on a thematic analysis, our findings point to supportive and critical constructions of mobile phone location-tracking and organize them within two scapes: personal; and international. These attest to the collective imagining of intimacies and public life, respectively. We draw on the case study to articulate mobile phones as devices that reduce movement into manageable mapped information and individuals into controllable data. Mobile phone location-tracking during the COVID-19 pandemic is understood as turning mobility into order and control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-447
Number of pages27
JournalMobile Media and Communication
Volume10
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Keywords

  • contact tracing
  • COVID-19
  • Israel
  • location tracking
  • mobile phone
  • surveillance
  • thematic analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Media Technology
  • Computer Networks and Communications

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