Professor Olav Lysne presents report on the digital flow of information into and out of Norway

The Ministry of Defense established an independent committee in February with the objective of evaluating main issues concerning the collection of information from the digital traffic in and out of Norway. Professor Olav Lysne, as head of the committee, presented the report Monday September 5th.

Olav Lysne presented the report to the press and delivered it in its entirety to Minister of Defense Ine Eriksen Søreide on Monday this week. An independent evaluation was requested as the Norwegian Government wishes to adapt to the quick advancements in global communication technologies. More than 95 percent of the communications traffic in Norway is presently transmitted over high speed fiber connections, as opposed to the radio- and satellite signals that were in use not long ago. The committee has evaluated whether Norwegian Intelligence can access the information that is conveyed in the fiberoptic network in the same way that satellite and radio communications are presently accessible.

The comittee took matters of privacy and personal freedom into consideration in their evaluation, concluding that obtaining access to the fiber network is appropriate for Norwegian Intelligence due to the nature of their social responsibility, but only under careful scrutiny. The access is deemed acceptable due to the escalation of digital threats against Norway and Norwegian interests, and the fact that the monitoring of the fiber optic network replaces the monitoring of older modes of technology. Due to the possibility of picking up sensitive information, the report underlines that this kind of defense mechanism should only be installed with strict control mechanisms in place of both technical and human nature. 

The committee members were professor Olav Lysne (head), attourney Christian Reusch, attourney Eva Jarbekk, department director Einar Lunde and rear admiral Trond Grytting (retired). The report is publicly available in Norwegian.

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Professor Olav Lysne (Photo: Simula/Bård Gudim)
The report uncovered a number of vulnerabilities in the present national infrastructure, and offers solutions that directly address the issues.

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