• Norway's news in English
 

NSA logged 33m calls in Nato ally Norway

Published: 19 Nov 2013 08:36 GMT+01:00

The document, "Norway - Last 30 days", shows that between December 12th last year and January 8th, 33,186,042 calls were registered in the country. 
 
"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." 
 
The US Embassy in Oslo refused to comment on the revelations: "When it comes to intelligence activity, we can not comment on individual cases. The United States collects intelligence overseas, as every nation does." 
 
Norway is the sixth country to learn details of phone data collected by the NSA,  following the decision of Edward Snowden, an IT contractor with the agency, to make public the scale of the its surveillance. 
 
Documents leaked by Snowden, who is now in exile in Russia, have shown the scale of phone data collected by the agency in Germany, France, Spain, Brazil and India. 
 
The NSA did not record the content of the 33 million Norwegian calls, but stored 'meta data', such as the length of the calls, the phone numbers of the caller and the call recipient, where the phone was located, and the serial numbers of the phones. 
 
The head of NIS, Norway's intelligence service, Lieutenant General Kjell Grandhagen, told Dagbladet that his agency had not collaborated with US to collect the data, and had been unaware that it was being collected. 
 
According to Dagbladet, Norwegian phone companies NetCom and Telenor both deny giving the NSA access to their systems. 
 
Torstein Olsen, head of Norway's telecoms regulator, said that it was illegal for anyone apart from telecommunications companies to collect such data. 
 
"If Dagbladet's information is correct that 33 million mobile phone calls in Norway were registered by someone other than the telecommunication companies, that would be a crime under Norwegian law," he said. 
 
According to Bård Vegar Solhjell, a senior minister in Stoltenberg's government, American officials claimed during meetings in June and July that there was no such illegal surveillance of Norwegians. 
 
"They said that all intelligence was gathered in compliance with Norwegian law and American laws. We were given an assurance that there was no illegal surveillance of Norwegians," he said.  
 
Bjørn Erik Thon, the head of Norway's data protection agency, said that even after nearly six months of the Snowden leaks, he was surprised. 
 
"The number is very high: if ten percent of all calls in Norway are monitored, we cannot talk about targeted surveillance," he said.  "It would not been been allowed even if it had been targeted, but it is even more serious when it goes to this extent." 
 
Norway is one of the '9-eyes' network of countries which share intelligence closely with the US. The group adds Denmark, France, Norway and the Netherlands, to the 5-eyes group of the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. 
 

Richard Orange (richard.orange@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Norway teens charged for hash cake prank
These are not the intoxicating Easter cakes served at a school lunch event in Norway. Cannabis cake photo: Shutterstock

Norway teens charged for hash cake prank

Two Norwegian teenagers have been charged by police after they brought Easter cakes to school loaded with so much marijuana that two teachers were admitted to hospital. READ  

Åkesson interview seen as 'mobbing': report
Photo: TT

Åkesson interview seen as 'mobbing': report

A recent interview with Sweden Democrat head Jimmie Åkesson on the Norwegian-Swedish TV talk show Skavlan has resulted in a storm of complaints in Norway. Many viewers considered it an attack interview. READ  

Doctors in Norway must tell airline if a pilot is ill
A Germanwings flight leaving Dusseldorf. Photo: Gerard van der Schaaf

Doctors in Norway must tell airline if a pilot is ill

If Germanwings pilot Andreas Lubitz had told a doctor in Norway he was too ill to fly, the doctor would have been required to inform his employer, a medical expert with Norway’s Civil Aviation Authority has claimed. READ  

Norway Pegida head sued for 'paedo' blog
Ronny Alte. Photo: Ronny Alte's blog

Norway Pegida head sued for 'paedo' blog

One of the leaders of the anti-Islamic Pegida movement in Norway has been ordered to pay heavy damages after a prominent scientist was called “a radical left paedo professor” on his blog. READ  

Norway and UK to build longest subsea cable
The signing of the deal at the British embassy in Oslo. Photo: British embassy

Norway and UK to build longest subsea cable

Norway and the UK have agreed to build the world’s longest undersea cable, capable of bringing enough low-carbon Norwegian hydropower to the UK to supply 750,000 British households. READ  

Bomb squad called to Oslo synagogue
Oslo's synagogue. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Bomb squad called to Oslo synagogue

Norway police evacuated the area around Oslo's synagogue on Thursday night after a man was reported leaving a "suspicious object". By 10pm, bomb specialists had judged the object harmless. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Norwegian: two people in cockpit at all times
A library image of a Norwegian plane. Photo: Johan Nilsson / TT / NTB scanpix

Norwegian: two people in cockpit at all times

Low-cost carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle has said it will require two people to be in the cockpit at all times for safety reasons, following suspicions that a co-pilot deliberately crashed a Germanwings flight in France on Tuesday. READ  

'Beautiful mind' wins Norway maths 'Nobel'
John F. Nash Jr. and Louis Nirenberg. Photo: NYU Photo Bureau:Hollenshead (Louis Nirenberg) and Peter Badge/NYU Photo Bureau:Hollenshead

'Beautiful mind' wins Norway maths 'Nobel'

Two Americans described as "mathematical giants of the 20th century", including John Nash of "A Beautiful Mind" fame, won Norway's prestigious Abel Prize on Wednesday. READ  

A-ha to tour five years after 'farewell' gig

A-ha to tour five years after 'farewell' gig

Norwegian pop band A-ha, who have sold more than 35 million albums since they first topped the charts in the 1980s, announced a comeback on Wednesday just five years after their last break-up. READ  

Climate change shrinking reindeer pastures: Nina
A strolling reindeer. Photo: Alexandre Buisse/Wikimedia

Climate change shrinking reindeer pastures: Nina

Climate change and overgrazing are causing a growing shortage of the lichen Norway’s reindeers depend on for food, a new report from the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (Nina) has warned. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Muslims form 'ring of peace' at synagogue
Business & Money
Schumacher's Norway retreat sold for $3m
National
As it happened: Denmark rocked by terror attack
National
King Harald visits Antarctic namesake
Culture
Norwegians streak the streets of Berlin
Culture
Norway couple find love on word game app
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Business & Money
FATCA: 'The age of financial privacy is over'
International
Norwegian chef wins world's top food prize
Sport
Real Madrid sign Norway prodigy Ødegaard
Politics
Solberg: The fight for freedom isn't won
National
Gaza doc named Norway's person of year
National
Norway extends Russian military freeze
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
National
Kjell Inge Røkke tops Norway's Rich List
International
Surprise! Norway priciest for home comforts
National
Norway terror attacks to become TV drama
International
Malala: Youngest ever Nobel Peace Laureate
National
Norway celebrates 25 years of Sami politics
Business & Money
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
International
Norway best country for older people
National
Muslim centre wanted on site of Munch Museum
International
Norway to send military staff in fight against IS
National
Father warns Breivik 'more extreme than ever'
National
Four-year-old Norway girl sleepwalks 4km
Travel
Cruise line offers Northern Lights promise
National
10-tonne shark found dead off Norway coast
International
'If Snowden wins Nobel Prize, arrest him!': MP
Culture
VIDEO: Swim ace does 'Pool Rubik's Challenge'
National
Norwegian man in 7,000 litre 'Ice Truck Challenge'
Society
Norwegian brewery pulls 'fart-smelling' beer
Sport
Ødegaard: Norway's youngest player ever
National
Miracle cat survives 20 gunshots in Norway
National
Second death within hours at Chess Olympics
National
Norway and Sweden mark 200 years of peace
Culture
Interview: Helene Meldahl, selfie artist
Society
Now serving ... Norway's smallest bar
Travel
Floating Northern Lights hotel planned in Norway
National
Circus camel escapes again
National
Swiss bus driver charged with careless driving in fatal Norway crash
Society
Brit's charity tractor trek heads for Norway
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,301
jobs available