• Norway's news in English
 
app_header_v3

NSA logged 33m calls in Nato ally Norway

Richard Orange · 19 Nov 2013, 08:36

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. 
Story continues below…
 
"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 no longer world's best country: report
No longer number one, but still pretty darned good. Photo: Erik Johansen / NTB scanpix

Norway fell from first to seventh place in a new life quality report.

Brexit
Norway won't commit to UK joining EFTA
PM Erna Solberg was in Brussels on Tuesday to meet with other Conservative leaders. Photo: Johan Falnes / NTB scanpix

Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Tuesday she has not concluded whether a British membership in the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) would be good for Norway.

Mass brawl breaks out at Norway asylum centre
The Forus asylum centre in Stavanger. Photo: Carina Johansen / NTB scanpix

A rejected asylum seeker was arrested early on Tuesday after a fight involving up to 20 people.

Brit held for throwing pie at Norway's equality minister
The woman accepted the court's judgement but denied having planned the pie attack. Photo: Erik Fosheim Brandsborg / NTB scanpix

A British woman will be held on remand for for weeks for attacking Norwegian Equality Minister Solveig Horne with a cream pie.

Brexit
Iceland president: Brexit is good news for Norway
Iceland president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, shown here in 2008. Photo: Kyrre Lien/NTB Scanpix

Iceland's long-time president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson says that Brexit can give Norway and other northern countries a more important role.

Oslo court rejects Edward Snowden lawsuit
Edward Snowden speaking via satellite as he received the Bjornson prize in September. Photo: Svein Ove Ekornesvåg / NTB scanpix

The Oslo District Court on Monday rejected American whistleblower Edward Snowden’s lawsuit to prevent his potential extradition.

Video
VIDEO: Norwegians set world record for largest bonfire
The bonfire was measured at 47.4 metres. Photo: Runar Andersen / NTB scanpix

See stunning video of the world's tallest bonfire going up in flames as Norway celebrated midsummer.

Brexit - Opinion
Norwegian in London: 'Brexit is dreadful for the UK's unity'
Commuters cross the London Bridge on Friday. Photo: DANIEL SORABJI/Scanpix

Welsh-Norwegian reporter Sunniva Davies-Rommetveit writes that Brexit leaves her fearing a new isolationist UK.

Norway enjoys one of world's 'best reputations'
Despite a fall from second, Norway still enjoys one of the world's best reputations. Photo: Vegard Wivestad Grøtt / NTB scanpix

Norway tumbled three spots in a new report ranking the most reputable countries in the world.

Brexit
Norway PM: EU should heed Brexit ‘warning’
People walk past a "Vote Leave" sign as they arrive to vote in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Thursday. Photo: Paul Faith/Scanpix

Erna Solberg said on Friday morning that she is worried about the knock-off political consequences of Britain’s decision to leave the EU.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Norway's ‘biggest sovereignty concession’ to EU in years
National
Norway makes ‘biggest sovereignty concession’ to EU in years
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Norway boosts defence against Russia threat
International
Norway boosts defence against Russia threat
FACT-CHECK: No, Norway isn’t banning diesel and petrol cars
National
FACT-CHECK: No, Norway isn’t banning diesel and petrol cars – yet
Norway aims to be climate-neutral by 2030
National
Norway aims to be climate-neutral by 2030
Migrant numbers plunge as Norway now 'less attractive'
National
Migrant numbers plunge as Norway now 'less attractive'
Society
Record number of kids mark Norway's National Day
Take a ride on Norway's most spectacular road
Travel
Take a ride on Norway's most spectacular road
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
National
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
National
Norway violated mass murderer's human rights: court
Modern-day Norwegian Viking conquers Instagram
Lifestyle
Modern-day Norwegian Viking conquers Instagram
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Global protests condemn 'legal kidnapping' in Norway
National
Global protests condemn 'legal kidnapping' in Norway
Norway to allow gay church weddings
Society
Church of Norway to allow same-sex weddings
'No means no': Norway sends migrants on anti-rape courses
National
'No means no': Norway sends migrants on anti-rape courses
For first time, majority in Norway don’t believe in God
Society
For first time, majority in Norway don’t believe in God
Norway preps 'breakthrough' on gender change
Health
Norway preps 'breakthrough' on gender change
Breivik says he'll fight 'to the death' for Nazism
National
Breivik says he'll fight 'to the death' for Nazism
2,020
jobs available