Norwegian Security Service Wants Details Of Citizens' Web Comments Retained For Six Months

from the anything-else? dept

Governments around the world are seeking to monitor more and more of their citizens' online activities -- and it's not just the most obviously repressive regimes doing this. In the US, there is CISPA, while the UK is drawing up the Communications Capability Development Programme. Thomas Steen alerts us to a further escalation of this desire to spy on the public, in Norway. The secret service there (known by the acronym PST) want details about comments posted on all Web sites retained (via Google Translate):

"This will make it possible to identify which IP address to publish a given post at a particular time," writes PST letter also signed the acting chief Roger Berg.
The current requirement is to store information detailing where, when, how and with whom Norwegians communicate using the phone, mobile or e-mail. The latest proposal would be a major extension to that, since it would require data about highly personal content to be stored. Here's how the PST would access that information:
If it becomes subject to compulsory saving for six months, it will mean that the district court, upon request from the PST, may require that those who have online discussion must submit the information about who wrote a given post and when it was done.

In addition, prosecutors called a "rush of competence" in cases where data is needed very quickly. Then the police and PST require data directly from the supplier, but as the court approve it afterwards.
Aside from that retrospective approval for data grabs, the other worrying aspect of this proposal from the Norwegian secret service is that, if implemented, it would establish a precedent that other countries may seek to follow.

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Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 4:17am

    What are our governments afraid of?

    I forget who said this, "That government which cannot trust it's citizens can itself no longer be trusted" but it has never been more true than today. Every government in the world it seems, is starting to spy on its own citizens. My question is, who is going to protect us from the government?

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 4:27am

    this intrusion into peoples lives is disgraceful. 9/11 was a despicable act committed by despicable people (if they can be called that) but even without the devastating loss of life and lives ruined, the terrorists have created such paranoia in the brains of US government and law enforcement that they have achieved all they wanted and more. they have then spread this paranoia everywhere making it worse than the most infectious of diseases. surely, there are not so many terrorists and criminals that warrant total surveillance on every citizen in the world on a 24/7 basis!

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 4:27am

    I think that it's time

    for citizens of all governments to start demanding that details of all their politicians and government officials statements be recorded, saved, and indexed. Whether those statements be uttered in their official capacity, in semi-official functions, or while running for (re)election, and statement made at a podium, microphone, press function, etc., should become part of their record, made available, and used to help ensure that they are true to their word and duties. It's cheap and easy these days, what with speech recognition technology and crowd sourcing, and hey, what's the harm - if they're not lying, misleading, or acting against their mandates, then they shouldn't fear something like this.

    Let's get on it people. :-)

     

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  4.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 4:30am

    So wait... they're trying to outsource their spying operations... onto the people they're trying to spy on?

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 4:46am

    WTF is going on with the world's governments? Do they all want to become Orwellian states all of the sudden?

     

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  6.  
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    Tor (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 5:00am

    The strange thing about the norweigian legislation is that it seems to give the authority that's appointed to oversee the data retention the power to extend the obligation to retain traffic data to new parties. One would think that the parliament or at least the government would have to give its approval to such restrictions of fundamental human rights.

    So what PST is doing here is making a request to this authority (PT) to extend the obligation to retain data. And it's not just internet communities and chats either. PST wants to extend the obligation to IP-adress data to internet cafs and it wants ISPs that use NAT to store the URLs that people access.

    Btw. in Sweden the police requested that the geographical position of people who make a mobile phone call should be registered every minute to track the movement of the person. Thankfully the government disagreed and the data is now to be stored "only" at the start and end of the phone call. We can only hope that this PST request ends up being rejected too. I think that's quite likely since the EU data retention directive introduces no obligations for providers of services over the internet (eg. webmail, IP-telephony, etc) unless they are offered by a company that also provides internet access or physical network infrastructure. So internet communities and such are not covered and although the PST seems to pretend otherwise it should be clear to most people that this is a quite massive extension of what the directive says.

    But who knows what happens in the future.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 5:01am

    Re: I think that it's time

    Would the real John Doe please stand up? There is only room for one John Doe here and I am it. :)

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Rich Kulawiec, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 5:04am

    "This will make it possible to identify which IP address to publish a given post at a particular time," writes PST letter also signed the acting chief Roger Berg.

    A. No, it won't.

    B. Even if it did, it won't reliably identify which computer was at that address.

    C. Even if it did, it won't reliably identify which person was sitting at that computer.

    D. Even if it did, it won't reliably identify who's responsible for that post.

    It continues to boggle my mind (although by now it probably shouldn't) that legislators, politicians, judges, lawyers, pundits, and even some IT people are not FULLY aware of the bot/zombie epidemic, of its scope, and of the direct impact of that on issues just like this one. We're now (roughly) a decade into it; there are thousands of articles, blog posts and research papers about it; it's the single largest security problem (by size) on the Internet; and yet these idiots are either (a) blissfully unaware of it or (b) pretending it doesn't exist.

    There are days that I think I should just skip the coffee and go straight to scotch.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 5:05am

    That's it.

    It's time to set EVERYTHING to be encrypted by default: emails, text messages, phone calls, etc.

    We can no longer trust that no one else isn't listening on our conversations.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    ASTROBOI, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 5:09am

    Commenting is difficult enough already.

    This site is one of the few that allows simple commenting. The trend is to forbid comments until the commenter provides personal information; email address, facebook id, whatever. That, of course, establishes a "business relationship" and the information may be used to spam, telemarket or just pester in novel ways. The information can likewise be sold to even worse "business partners". So, for many, comments are not only tied to their authors already, they are producing negative results.

    And all to get on a page that states "999 comments, here are 3". Oh, did you want to see more? OK, here are a few more and some additional ads. And long comments require clicking on "more" to make sense of the post. You wonder if the cops will get the short version or the long one.

    This site is commended for avoiding all the above nuisances.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 5:13am

    Re:

    I agree. So far I found the developments worrying, but not bad enough to actually use anonymous and encrypted services all the time. However, I'm really starting to think more and more often that I should be using those exclusively for browsing the web now.

    It's a sad day when law-abiding citizens are forced into hiding their activities.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 5:25am

    It will not be long until they demand video and audio surveillance throughout everyones' homes. They already eavesdrop on-hook cellphones and landlines. Your big screen tv will soon have video cameras dispersed throughout the screen so you can't cover it with duct tape. There are ways to block these intrusions, however the average person lacks the skills, knowledge and/or drive to implement them - it will probably be illegal soon to do so. George was off by about forty years huh. What a wonderful future we have to look forward to.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 5:49am

    The Big Bad Wolf

    My,what big eyes you have! All the better to see you with.
    My,what big ears you have! All the better to hear you with.
    My,what big teeth you have!.....

    It seems that the Big Bad Wolf is alive after all!

    Now you know where our politicians get their ideas!

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 5:57am

    Majority of citizens across the world are pointless to spy on. Governments are making up issues because they have forgot what government means.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 6:06am

    "Those who would trade in their freedom for their protection deserve neither"

    Benjamin Franklin

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 6:25am

    Someone's been going thru my email,tweets and Facebook accounts for years.They know every intimate detail of my life!All my private thoughts...I'm an open book.
    Of course, my divorce lawyer said that maybe I shouldn't have trusted her with all those passwords!
    I don't see how the government knowing all this stuff (and they do now) could be any worse!

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 6:32am

    Re:

    Pointless advertising is pointless - this is why there is money to be made spying upon you and your neighbors.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 6:34am

    Re:

    "I don't see how the government knowing all this stuff ... could be any worse!"

    Hardly the point is it?

     

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  19.  
    icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 6:45am

    Governments fear informed masses
    Internet informs the masses
    Governments fear the Internet

    I covered this already.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 6:45am

    Governments fear informed masses
    Internet informs the masses
    Governments fear the Internet

    I covered this already.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 6:46am

    Governments fear informed masses
    Internet informs the masses
    Governments fear the Internet

    I covered this already.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 6:46am

    Governments fear informed masses
    Internet informs the masses
    Governments fear the Internet

    I covered this already.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 6:47am

    Governments fear informed masses
    Internet informs the masses
    Governments fear the Internet

    I covered this already.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    Mega1987 (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 6:47am

    Goldmine

    I think the biggest threat in internet security are now waiting for some moron to approve and implement this....

    It's a GODDAMN GOLDMINE for them...

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 6:49am

    Re:

    "I covered this already."

    We noticed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Paul, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 6:52am

    Re:

    I agree with you, these people don't know much.
    Reminds me about the days of SOPA when I was thinking that if it passed we would see a new type of attack aimed at your competition. Instead of taking their websites down just post some infringing material and then stand aside and watch your competition being dragged into court for copyright violation.
    Considering that SOPA proposed that all services to the infringing website should bee blocked from day one your competition sized to exist.
    Ah... the beauty of it. Too bad some idiots started protesting against it. They clearly did not see the posibilities :))

     

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  27.  
    icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 7:04am

    Re: Re:

    Sorry, I may have clicked submit several times when I thought it did not take and now I am embarrassed. Perhaps someone could delete the others.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    latin angel (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 7:17am

    Re:

    It's not paranoia, it's power hunger!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 7:22am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Don't feel embarrassed. It happens ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 7:24am

    Re: Re:

    Hardly the point is it?

    I'm not really trying to make a point.Was I supposed to?

    Perhaps you could lets all know what the point is!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 7:38am

    Go ahead, save this

    It's time now to start killing politicians.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 8:05am

    There can be only one reason to push such absurd shit. They do it non stop then when something that's shit in a normal persons eyes is not anymore use to seeing all this other shit going on. One crack a time till we're all slaves of the system with zero rights. By the time people stand up to fight there will be enough little shit passed to prevent it and they will be able to gain more and more momentum :(

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 8:21am

    Re:

    While I agree with you, Norway is not in EU, so it is not bound by it's directives, as far as I know.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    radiatorninjaen (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 8:52am

    Not only that, but...

    In Denmark, the political parties even talked about actively hunting down people who express their hate on the Internet. This was a direct result of the Utya shooting, apparently because people who think in the same way as Breivik post blogs and have message boards. It was quickly dismissed here though, as it's hard to figure out exactly what to use all that data for and proves some problems for democracy.

    When stuff like Utya happens, people get scared and start calling for initiatives like this. They even mention Breivik in the article. Not that I agree this is a good idea but perhaps it can explain a bit why stuff like this is proposed.

     

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  35.  
    icon
    Tor (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 9:18am

    Re: Re:

    No, but it is part of the EEA. The request by PST is directly related to the norweigian implementation of the EU data retention directive. It seems to be a bit uncertain to what degree Norway is bound by the directive (some analysis in norwegian can be found here).

     

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  36.  
    icon
    Tor (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 9:23am

    Re:

    I disagree with you on A. If you store the IP address then of course it will be possible to retrieve it later. How much it will tell you is another matter.

    Please note that PST may not be interested in the data for the purpose of prosecution but for further investigations. I wouldn't rule out that it might be useful in some cases, but it's still a totally unbalanced proposal that restricts basic human rights in an unacceptable way.

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 10:14am

    Hate speech and data retention

    Some of you may not know that Norway has so-called hate speech laws on the book. It's a very vague law providing for fines and imprisonmen for speech which is offensive without inciting to violence.

    Any argument for data retention in relation to crime prosecution must take in to account the extend to which the state already bans speech..
    The more speech is illegal, the greater the benefit of data retention.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 7:08pm

    Re:

    Governments need to go back to what they were originally intended for, referring!
    You don't go to an sports event expecting to see the referee takeing part, except to give an impartial decision on something both parties are willing to accept
    You don't expect a referee to tell a football player that he can't kick a ball a certain way because of ........................terrorists.......pshh

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    icon
    Toot Rue (profile), May 1st, 2012 @ 1:28pm

    200 years and out

    For the majority of history governments ruled with an iron fist, mostly for the benefit of the rulers. This 200+ year flirtation with government for the people may be simply an aberration that is soon to be just a footnote in history.

    Smaller government was again rejected in the USA, as seems to be the case in other countries.

    Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    sourov, Jun 23rd, 2012 @ 12:57am

    FULL OF FUN

    FULL OF FUN very jocks for free

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    James Norris, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 8:18am

    Security Services

    I wish I had the resources to buy some type of security company's product. I have seen some great ones in Calgary and thanks for sharing this information.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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