Prime Minister Erna Solberg has been hosting all her new Nordic colleagues in Oslo this week at a ministerial meeting of the Nordic Council, and spying has been on the agenda. Solberg is also worried about possible spying operations from Sweden, in addition to those from the US.
Swedish law allows for surveillance of Norwegian e-mail and Internet traffic, and “the concern is that lots of Norwegian Internet traffic goes through Sweden,” Solberg told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Tuesday. “Therefore we want more information about this.”
NRK reported that Sweden’s so-called FRA law from 2008 gives Swedish authorities the possibility to conduct surveillance of Norwegian communication that crosses the border. Data communication within Norway can also be intercepted, because much of it is routed through Sweden.
Until last year, only Sweden’s military intelligence agency had access to the communication but that access was expanded to the Swedish police. “Therefore I’ve told (Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik) Reinfeldt that we want to take this up further,” said Solberg, who also has demanded some answers about US spying on Norwegians from government officials in Washington.
Reinfeldt, who had bilateral talks with Solberg on Monday, said he thinks the Swedish law is positive, though. “Nearly all countries have surveillance activity,” he told NRK. “I think we should be open about that. In Sweden we have a law that sets limits on collecting the information. That gives both protection and possibilities for the insight.”
Reinfeldt said he doesn’t think Norwegians needs to be concerned about the law. “The goal isn’t to spy on certain countries but to protect ourselves from terror and prevent wars and conflict,” he said.
The prime ministers of Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland along with the local leaders of Åland, Greenland and the Færø Islands gathered in Oslo this week with an agenda based on more inter-parliamentary cooperation. They agreed Tuesday to pursue more “borderless cooperation” as a means to create more economic growth and jobs.