Norwegian Intelligence collects data about Norwegians
According to top secret US documents NRK has gained access to, the Norwegian Intelligence Service (E-Tjenesten) operates electronic surveillance at Eggemoen. This may be in violation of Norwegian legislation.
According to NRK, the Intelligence Service has set up and steadily expanded “one of the world’s most advanced listening stations” at Eggemoen in Ringerike, with the aim to hunt for terrorists.
But the advanced satellite dishes also pick up satellite phone calls and data traffic from Norwegian citizens, according to the broadcaster. As examples of material that is picked up, NRK draws attention to “who is calling and sending an email to whom” and “who writes to whom on Facebook and other social media”, among other things. According to the broadcaster, large parts of the material are stored for years.
The fourth paragraph of the Intelligence Service Act however states that “the intelligence service shall not monitor or otherwise obtain information about Norwegian real or legal persons” when on Norwegian territory.
Uncertainty regarding the current legislation
The EOS Committee, the Parliaments inspectorate regarding the Intelligence Service, says they are unsure whether the practice is lawful or not.
– We have been unsure whether the way the Intelligence Service has accomplished these tasks has been adequately enforced by the current legislation, says the head of the EOS Committee, Eldbjørg Løwer, to NRK.
The Intelligence Service believes however that what they do is within the regulatory framework.
– Retrieval of metadata, including on individuals, is authorized by the Intelligence Service Act. Such gathering is neither in violation of Norwegian law, the European Convention on Human Rights or other sections of international law, says the chief of the intelligence service, general Lieutenant Morten Haga Lunde, to the canal.
Does not monitor Norwegians in Norway
Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen (Conservatives) denies that the Intelligence Service monitors Norwegians.
– The Intelligence Service does not monitor Norwegians in Norway. They are not allowed to do so, he states in a press release Thursday evening.
He also indicates that the EOS Committee has audited the Intelligence Services station at Ringerike – without raising criticism against what they are doing. Instead, they reported back to the Parliament (Storting) about a possible need for legislative changes.
– The current Intelligence Service Act was designed 20 years ago, and both the technology and threats that we face have changed significantly. Work on a new legislative framework is well underway, and it is planned that a proposal for a revamped law on the Intelligence Service will be sent for review in 2018, the Minister of Defense says.
He emphasizes that the station is solely Norwegian, but acknowledges that information gathered is shared with allies.
He emphasizes that all sharing of information with partners is subject to national control and that there are separate rules for sharing information regarding Norwegian subjects.
– As most other countries’ intelligence services, the Norwegian Intelligence Service shares information with iallies. Sharing intelligence information with our closest allies is necessary to safeguard Norway’s security in today’s unstable security policy situation, Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen concludes.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today