Norway’s state intelligence gathering agency PST (Politiets sikkerhetstjenesten) isn’t supporting a request from its military and overseas counterpart E-tjenesten, that the latter be allowed to monitor and store all data crossing the border for 18 months. PST fears it may overlap or collide with its own itelligence gathering.
PST is responsible for assessing and handling threats against Norway, while E-tjenesten is in charge of monitoring threats from abroad. E-tjenesten is seeking permission to monitor and store metadata on all data traffic to and from Norway for 18 months.
The request is controversial, because of concerns over privacy, and Norway’s surveillance authority (Datatilsynet) opposes it. PST isn’t as concerned about the proposed intervention into Norwegians’ data communication as it is that PST’s and E-tjenesten‘s work may overlap and create conflicts within each agency’s mandate.
PST is also worried about the consequences for Norwegian intelligence gathering if the two agencies’ assignments overlap. “It can be very unfortunate if the two agencies monitor the same circles or people without knowing it, or report the same information as being different,” wrote PST chief Benedicte Bjørnland. That can lead to mistakes or misinterpretations, she wrote.
Input from the hearings on E-tjenesten‘s proposal will now be reviewed by the defense ministry as it evaluates the proposal.