Legal oversight gives welfare authority unlimited surveillance powers / News / The Foreigner

Legal oversight gives welfare authority unlimited surveillance powers. A new law designed to prevent benefits fraud has backfired on politicians with potentially serious privacy issues. All information about mobile calls and Internet surfing is freely available to NAV (the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration) without any form of administrative scrutiny. The loophole was discovered last month by sheer coincidence, after a local NAV office asked a telecoms company for itemised call details from a mobile belonging to a person on welfare.

surveillance, nav, norwegian, welfare, labour, administration, post, telecommunications, authority, geir, pollestad, centre, party, ministry, transport, communications, elisabeth, aarsaether



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Legal oversight gives welfare authority unlimited surveillance powers

Published on Monday, 22nd November, 2010 at 13:20 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .

A new law designed to prevent benefits fraud has backfired on politicians with potentially serious privacy issues.

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All information about mobile calls and Internet surfing is freely available to NAV (the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration) without any form of administrative scrutiny.

The loophole was discovered last month by sheer coincidence, after a local NAV office asked a telecoms company for itemised call details from a mobile belonging to a person on welfare.

Such information is normally only made available to, for example, the police, and by application only in specific circumstances.

The Post and Telecommunications Authority (PTT) was alerted, and investigations revealed NAV had a right to demand full access to this private information without any further action.

“We believe this causes extreme problems regarding legal safeguards for those who receive benefit payments from NAV,” PTT Information Manager Elisabeth Aarsæther tells Dagbladet.

Geir Pollestad, MP for the Centre Party (Sp), was Parliament’s Standing Committee on Labour and Social Affairs’ representative when it changed the legislation last year. He admits they should have been more thorough.

“We never intended to give NAV access to the data without having to get permission from the PTT in advance. I have read the amendment five times, and now believe it should have rung a bell back then,” he says.

Opposition politicians claim what has happened is reminiscent of a surveillance society at its worst, and join the Coalition politicians in their demands for the government to order NAV to stop the practice immediately.

They also call for a tightening of current legislation, and the PTT says it has sent the Ministry of Transport and Communications a letter asking for an explanation

“The Ministry is hearing the case. That’s all we can say at this time,” says Ivar Torvik, the Ministry’s Information Manager.




Published on Monday, 22nd November, 2010 at 13:20 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .

This post has the following tags: surveillance, nav, norwegian, welfare, labour, administration, post, telecommunications, authority, geir, pollestad, centre, party, ministry, transport, communications, elisabeth, aarsaether.





  
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