In an unusual move, the Israeli military’s mobile phone tracking app has been banned from use, a military spokesperson said Friday.
The app, called Mapi, allows Israeli troops to use the country’s network of satellites to track objects such as rockets, shells, and artillery pieces, and even locate them.
It’s a free app, and it doesn’t have a price tag.
But it has drawn criticism from some Israelis, who have pointed out that its functionality can be used to track Palestinian protesters and even the movement of Palestinians who are trying to enter Israel illegally.
The app was installed in November by the Israeli Air Force.
Mapi was one of several services being used to identify targets of Israeli airstrikes, such as Palestinian villages or residential areas, and was used to provide coordinates for Israeli strikes, according to a report in the Haaretz daily.
It was not immediately clear what prompted the ban.
The military said it had received a complaint from a citizen, who complained about its use of the military’s own satellites.
“The military is in a state of emergency,” the spokesperson said, referring to a state-of-emergency declared in June after the Gaza conflict.
“These are very sensitive and sensitive times for the military.
The service’s aim is to preserve the security of the state and to provide a useful service to the public.”
A similar app was used in 2015 by the U.S. Air Force, which was accused of violating privacy by collecting data on millions of Americans.
It was taken down from the market within hours.
The government of Israel said the app’s use violates Israeli law and military regulations.
“We have been working for years to create a technology that protects citizens from the spying activities of the Israeli authorities, and we have to take action against the illegal use of our service,” a spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.