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Revealed: spy equipment in central Oslo

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Leader of the Christian Democrats, Knut Arild Hareide, talks on his mobile on his way to Norway's parliament last month. Photo: Vidar Ruud / NTB scanpix
10:07 CET+01:00
Spy equipment that can be used to eavesdrop on the mobile phones of politicians and ordinary Norwegians has been discovered in several places in the Oslo area, including close to the country's parliament, newspaper Aftenposten has revealed.

The equipment, hidden in fake mobile base stations, can be used to monitor all mobile activity in the vicinity. The paper conducted tests close important buildings in central Oslo and discovered a number of the devices, including close to the prime minister’s residence on Parkveien and close to the government offices.

The purpose of the equipment appears to have been to find out who was entering and passing parliament, the government offices and other buildings in the area. It could also be used to listen to phone calls and monitor data traffic of selected people in the area, the paper says.

It is not known who placed the equipment, according to the paper, but no Norwegian agency has admitted to being responsible. Only the police, security police and the National Security Agency (NSM) are entitled to use eavesdropping equipment under Norwegian law.

The security police (PST) said that “very many” organisations could be responsible for the fake base stations:

“It could be private actors or state actors,” said the PST’s Arne Christian Haugstøyl.

“I can’t on the basis of these discoveries say that it is a foreign intelligence agency, but I can say that we know that foreign intelligence agencies have this kind of capacity. And in our preventive work we advise those looking after Norwegian interests not to talk about sensitive issues on mobile phones,” he said.

The National Security Agency was told of Aftenposten’s discovery on Thursday, and started its own investigation around central Oslo on Friday.

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