NSA engaged in illegal mass-spying on Norway's phone system

Norway is the latest US ally to erupt in outrage at the news that the NSA was intercepting millions of its phone calls in total disregard for Norwegian law. A new Snowden leak shows that between Dec 8, 2012 and Jan 8, 2013, the NSA logged 33,186,042 Norwegian phone calls, intercepting an enormous amount of sensitive data about Norwegians' private lives. Last June, the former Norwegian prime minister was assured by senior US officials that no such interception had taken place. In addition to being a NATO member, Norway is a close surveillance partner with the US, part of the "nine eyes" surveillance partnership.

"Friends should not monitor each other," Norway's prime minister Erna Solberg told Norwegian broadcaster NRK on Tuesday. "It is legitimate to engage in intelligence, but it should be targeted and suspect based."

"It is unacceptable for allies to engage in intelligence against eachother's political leadership," added justice minister Anders Anundsen.

Jens Stoltenberg, Norway's prime minister at the time the surveillance reportedly took place, said that he had not been informed of the monitoring when he grilled senior US officials on data collected from Norway after the first NSA revelations in June.

"I have not been informed of the sort of monitoring which is now being described," he told NRK. "The information that is now coming out shows that it is necessary to go a second round with the Americans. It is important to get the facts and then evaluate them."

NSA logged 33m calls in Nato ally Norway [Richard Orange/The Local]

(via Reddit)

(Image: Dagbladet.no)

Notable Replies

  1. john_c says:

    I dislike the NSA and its overreaching surveillance activities as much as the next guy, but why would the NSA be subject to Norwegian law?

  2. Look at it this way. Imagine that there is a Norwegian agency operating in the USA -- there are several, including tourism boards and diplomatic bodies -- that engaged in some conduct that Americans objected to.

    Can you understand why it would matter whether that conduct was legal or illegal? If Norwegian diplomats drive ugly cars around DC that blare Norwegian folk music all the time, the question of whether those cars were doing something illegal would be an important one. It's the difference between rudeness and criminality.

  3. Are you trolling? Because if you are not, then your question is meaningless. Especially when the PM says something like:"It is legitimate to engage in intelligence, but it should be targeted and suspect based."

  4. This?

  5. bwv812 says:

    Yes, but there's no allegation in the article that the data collection actually happened inside Norway. Given the global nature of telecommunications, even domestic, it seems quite possible that the communications were logged outside of Norway, possibly when it passed through American or other international infrastructure.

    Why not? The CIA's foreign intelligence gathering is likely legal under US law, and if it uses infrastructure in the US it likely violates no foreign laws. Then there's all sorts of surveillance, picture taking, and cultivation of personal relationship that violates no laws but still constitutes what we typically consider spying.

    One of the suspects in the Kenyan mall shootings is a Norwegian.

Continue the discussion bbs.boingboing.net

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