Norway's Police Security Service seeks wider powers / News / The Foreigner

Norway's Police Security Service seeks wider powers. UPDATED: Terror threats against Norway have increased, the PST’s annual threat assessment report shows. Increased risk, suspects covering their tracks, and threats against politicians have prompted action. 'Guilty until proven innocent,' data protection authorities say. Director Marie Benedicte Bjørnland has also expressed concern over how extreme Islamist organisations are growing increasingly good at hiding their data and dealings from them. As a result, security officials are seeking permission to conduct surveillance on what people type on their computer keyboards. The move, which applies to persons under suspicion, involves installing a Trojan on their system.

norwayterror, securityservices



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Norway's Police Security Service seeks wider powers

Published on Wednesday, 5th March, 2014 at 14:12 under the news category, by Emma Åsberg and Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 5th March 2014 at 21:48.

UPDATED: Terror threats against Norway have increased, the PST’s annual threat assessment report shows. Increased risk, suspects covering their tracks, and threats against politicians have prompted action. 'Guilty until proven innocent,' data protection authorities say.

Police Security Service (PST) 2006
The PST's latest report may lead to increased data surveillance.Police Security Service (PST) 2006
Photo: Penneknekt/Wikimedia Commons


Director Marie Benedicte Bjørnland has also expressed concern over how extreme Islamist organisations are growing increasingly good at hiding their data and dealings from them.

As a result, security officials are seeking permission to conduct surveillance on what people type on their computer keyboards. The move, which applies to persons under suspicion, involves installing a Trojan on their system.

“We observe that people who wish to avoid our attention write an email, and then save it as a draft. The receiver then signs into the same account, reads it, then deletes it. We rely on data surveillance to gather this type of information,” she told NRK.

This type of information gathering is currently prohibited under Norwegian legislation, and requires a change by parliament as well as a subsequent court order.

Data Protection Authority director Bjørn Erik Thon tells The Foreigner, “We look upon this as just another example of suggestions from the PST.”

'A provocation,' says Bjørn Erik Thon
'A provocation,' says Bjørn Erik Thon
Norwegian Data Protection Authority
“They have a very vague way of arguing this is needed, and they seem to have a wish list that they pump out into the public.”

Mr Thon is less than pleased about the latest suggestion.

“However, each suggestion might seem small, but they make a very big step put together. I’m very sceptical to the Trojan idea, and find it a provocation. It’s possible to register many things before gaining access to computer keyboards,” he states.

“Moreover, there’s no proof anything written will come to anything. It might just be the person expressing their feelings at the moment. The PST’s proposal criminalises the mind,” added Mr Thon, commenting that the state of play will become guilty until proven innocent.

The PST report also predicts an increase in threats aimed at officials and politicians, though most of these threats will be a scaring tactic and not generally be punishable.

Head of the service’s analytical department Jon Fitje commented to Dagens Næringsliv, Wednesday, several politicians have “declined to partake in debates and been careful in the statements they have made” due to feeling uncomfortable.

“It’s a democratic problem if the fear of being threatened is so great that they decline to say what they really mean.”

The main points of the PST report are outlined below.

  • Norwegian extreme Islamists who have gained the ability to commit terrorist acts through training abroad “will represent a potential threat to Norwegian interests in 2014.
  • Terrorism threats in general against Norway are believed to have increased. The largest threat is said to come from “a multi-ethnic extreme Islamic environment” in eastern Norway, according to the report.
  • Organised right and left wing extremists are perceived as a smaller threat compared to individuals with violent intentions and arbitrary connections with extreme organisations.
  • Right-wing extremists are predicted to mainly provoke and threaten Muslim people, while left-wing extremists' actions will be directed towards other political figures and organisations.
  • Intelligence threats stemming from the increase in data surveillance between countries and states will continue to pose a significant threat.
  • Concern was expressed in the report that young people would be recruited to carry out the tasks of foreign governments.
  • The Norwegian education system, research institutions and businesses will continue to be sources of interest and information for those seeking to develop weapons of mass destruction. Iran was mentioned as a country particularly likely to be of concern with regards to Norway's petroleum business.



Published on Wednesday, 5th March, 2014 at 14:12 under the news category, by Emma Åsberg and Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 5th March 2014 at 21:48.

This post has the following tags: norwayterror, securityservices.





  
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