Politics / World News

A Norwegian Watergate?

The Oslo IMSI Catchers Enigma

by Marie Baleo

norwegian parliament stortinget oslo norway

The Norwegian Parliament, or “Stortinget”, in central Oslo. Image via Dagens Næringsliv, dn.no

There’s something in the air…

The Norwegian capital is a small city of 650,000 souls, easily walkable from East to West in a matter of hours. Tourists particularly enjoy strolling down Karl Johans gate, one of the city’s most picturesque streets, which connects the Royal Palace to the Oslo train station. Walking down Karl Johan, you will pass the National Theatre, a Hard Rock Cafe and a slew of restaurants and bookstores, before encountering the solemn 19th-century building which houses the Norwegian Parliament, or Stortinget, and its 169 members. Continue walking for a few minutes, and, just a few streets off Karl Johan, you will reach Akersgata 55, the offices of Aftenposten, Norway’s largest and most prestigious newspaper.

It is in these very offices, in the fall of 2014[1], that prize-winning political journalist Per Anders Johansen came across a document in a database, titled “Guidelines for the notification of mobile-regulated zones“. Intrigued, Johansen set out to understand the obscure concept of mobile regulation. He discovered that Parliament had voted amendments in 2013, allowing the Police Security Service (PST) and the National Security Authority (NSM) to introduce such “mobile-regulated zones”, provided they notify the Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority (known as NKom, or NPT). It was while further researching the phrase “mobile regulated zones” that Johansen first discovered, and made the connection with, IMSI catchers.

Also known as stingrays or grabbers, IMSI catchers are “surveillance devices (that) trick mobile phones into thinking they have logged onto legitimate cell networks (…) when in fact the signals have been hijacked[2]. Appearing to your mobile phone as an ordinary cell phone tower, an IMSI catcher uses strong signals to convince your phone to choose its signal over all others in the area. In order to do so, the IMSI catcher or false base station must be located in close proximity to real base stations. Once installed, the IMSI catcher reads the list of its neighbor bases and determines which ones are most commonly used. It duplicates the identity of the strongest base station in range and impersonates it, fooling all mobile phones in the area[3].

An IMSI catcher (above) is comprised of “a laptop, hard drive (to handle the encryption tables), and a cell phone or commercial cell radio with an external antenna”. Image via ccpc2008.blogspot.fr

An IMSI catcher (above) is comprised of “a laptop, hard drive (to handle the encryption tables), and a cell phone or commercial cell radio with an external antenna”. Image via ccpc2008.blogspot.fr

IMSI catchers can then save your text messages or download spyware onto your phone in order to switch on its microphone, a popular and practical way to listen to the activity in a room. Most importantly, they can listen to your conversations before transferring them to the actual GSM system, while “the spies (are) sitting in between, where they are able hear every word” (Aftenposten). In this regard, IMSI catchers are classic man-in-the-middle devices, meaning they “ secretly (relay) and possibly (alter) the communication between two parties who believe they are directly communicating with each other[4].

This was an interesting finding, to say the least.

Aftenposten petitioned the telecoms authority, the NKom, with a request for access to a database compilation, hoping to find out how many times the NKom had been informed of mobile-regulated zones being set up in Norway. They were met with a firm “no”, as the NKom argued the need for secrecy in order to prevent criminal behaviors. Aftenposten appealed this decision, but the Ministry of Transportation confirmed the NKom’s initial response.

Understandably, this only further aroused the newspaper’s curiosity. Aftenposten set out to shed light, by itself, on whether such monitoring equipment was currently in use in the country. To this end, the paper had its mind set on using a German encrypted mobile phone, the aptly named “Crypto Phone” (300,000 items sold globally[5]), purported to allow the detection of IMSI catchers. The journalists began to drive around the city and collect data in several areas of critical political and economic importance. Over the next forty days, they would drive, cycle and walk 100 kilometers inside the city and make over 50,000 measurements.

In their report to SKUP, the journalists recall a meeting with an operator, who told them: “You must know that you are opening Pandora’s Box here. You must be aware of the strong forces that will try to prevent you from mentioning this. Before you decide to publish this, you must be aware of which door you open when this comes out”.

But in what is undeniably one of the greatest investigative journalistic efforts in the nation’s history, the newspaper pushed on[6].

Act I: “Highly Suspicious Activity”

aftenposten offices newspaper oslo

Aftenposten offices in Oslo. Image via LokalHistorieWiki.No

After weeks of strenuous efforts and significant investment, assisted in the technical aspects of its work by various international expert firms (Aeger Group, CEPI Technologies, Delma, …), Aftenposten was able to establish, in a time period of 42 days (10 October-21 November), 87 instances regarded by the Crypto Phone as “highly suspicious events[7]. The majority of these inexplicable signals was concentrated in three areas where political institutions and financial places of interest abound: Stortinget, Parkveien and Kvadraturen. Others were found in a neighborhood where many diplomatic missions (UK, Finland, …) and Embassies (Russia, France, …) are located[8].

Highly suspicious” activity, according to Aftenposten’s experts, meant that under normal network conditions, a high number of these events could be a strong indication that something was wrong.

The journalists observed[9] that the signals emitted by the false stations reached cell phones located everywhere around them, and were thus not pointed in a specific direction. This made it relatively easy for Aftenposten to detect the false stations, indicating that whoever controlled them was confident they would not get caught. However, the newspaper could not ascertain the precise location of the IMSI catchers, as doing so would require official permission to enter several buildings, something only the Norwegian police are authorized to do.

aftenposten infographic IMSI catcher surveillance

When Oslo lights up like a Christmas tree: “red points indicate zones with high probability for suspicious surveillance” in this Aftenposten infographic. Image via Aftenposten.no

On the morning of 12 December 2014, Aftenposten shared its discoveries with Telenor and Netcom (respectively, the first and second largest service providers in the country), in order to ensure that no network disfunction or technical elements could explain these findings. Both companies confirmed no errors had occurred in the areas researched by the newspaper.

At 10pm, Aftenposten published an article titled “Stortinget og statsministeren overvåkes” – “the Parliament and Prime Minister are being spied on”[10].

The fake base stations – or cell towers – may monitor thousands of citizens in Oslo every day. They have the same size as a computer, cost between 10 000 and 12 million kroner (less than 2000 up to 2 million dollars). They make Oslo’s mobile network very unsafe. The Falcon II indicates that signals are coming from a surveillance point only 50 – 100 meters away, probably hidden in an office, a window, a car or a small suitcase. Most probably it is placed a few hundred meters from the Prime minister’s office (SMK), the Ministry of defence, the Norwegian Defence staff and Norges Bank, the Norwegian central bank.”

Aftenposten did not spring this news on the Police Security Service (PST) and the National Security Authority (NSM): two weeks prior, as noted by editor Håkon Borud[11], the paper had gone to the authorities, giving them an opportunity to launch investigations of their own while the prints were still fresh.

NSM’s preliminary investigation: base stations “likely to be false”

Shortly after Aftenposten’s article was published, NSM, the National Security Authority, turned in its report to the Ministries of Justice and Defense and PST, agreeing that the Oslo base stations were “likely to be false”[12]. NSM Director General Kjetil Nilsen stated that “it is likely that the findings Aftenposten has made through (its) investigations are real”. Additionally, when asked by Aftenposten if they had found the same IMSI catchers the paper had, Hans Christian Pretorius, Director of Operations at the National Security Authority (NSM) declared:

We found things. We don’t have all the data ready in order to find indications in precisely the same locations. But we did register signals from IMSI-catchers in the centre of town[13].

In Norway, only PST, NSM and the police are legally authorized to use IMSI catchers, but none of these entities have come forward to claim the IMSI catchers discovered by Aftenposten (which notes that this kind of equipment may not be legally sold to private individuals in NATO Member States[14]). Mere days after Aftenposten ran its story, Signe Alling (PST’s police attorney) commented that “PST only to a very limited extent employs equipment that utilizes so called mobile regulated zones. And when we do, it will be part of precautionary measures or the investigation of a criminal offense. This is always done on a legal basis, after a court order”[15].

On 16 December 2014, four days after the article was published, Justice Minister Anders Anundsen confirmed that:

The scope of the surveillance of the capital emerge(d) as large and systematized, but we have yet to find out more[16].

Asked if PST would be launching an investigation based on Aftenposten’s findings, PST’s Arne Christian Haugstøyl offered this brilliantly laconic response:

PST is working continuously to prevent illegal intelligence activity (…) PST sees no point in running around, trying to find the equipment itself. It is important for us to work with preventive measures and reduce the vulnerability, simply to make the Norwegian public understand that if you have a secret, you should not discuss it on an open line[17].

However, on that same day and less than 48 hours after the publication of the article, PST launched an investigation of its own, prompted inter alia by NSM’s first observations.

aftenposten cover december 2015

Aftenposten cover of 12 December 2015. Image via Journalisten.no

Act II: And then there were none

Ten days after publication, on 22 December, Aftenposten undertook new measurements in the same areas it had initially surveyed. Almost all signals had now vanished. Those in Aker Brygge, Tjuvholmen, Parkveien and Lysaker were all gone. Signals were only detected in two locations, and appeared much weaker. Kyrre Sletsjøe (CEO, CEPIA Technologies) told journalists that IMSI catchers located near Parliament, the Ministry of Defense and the Prime Minister’s Office might still be active, and that while some of the systems had been turned off, others had modified their coverage area or increased their focus. On that same day, Justice Minister Anundsen definitively dismissed the notion that the IMSI catchers were controlled by Norwegian security services.

Is it preposterous to imagine that the sudden disappearance of almost all of these signals might be connected to the publication of Aftenposten’s article?

Around the same period, Justice Minister Anundsen submitted a legislative proposal offering to extend considerably the right of PST and the police to use false base stations. Indeed, Anundsen proposes no less than a lift of the current requirement for preliminary court approval[18] of IMSI catchers. Hadia Tajik, Labor MP, political rising star and chair of the Parliament’s Justice Committee, declared[19]: “I think there is every reason to be critical of this proposal because it removes judicial control over the use of this type of instrument (…) It is important that we protect this judicial control”.

On January 7, day of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, a PST officer and an Oslo police officer paid a visit to Aftenposten’s offices[20]. The main message offered by the two men was that they would “provide a channel for Andreas (Bakke Foss, Aftenposten journalist working on the case) if there was something he wanted to say, beyond what (the journalists) had delivered and what had been written”, with the newspaper noting that this statement “was perceived as pressure”. Previously, on Christmas Eve, Kyrre Slettsjøe (CEPIA Technologies CEO) had been summoned for questioning by PST[21]. When he had demanded a lawyer, he had been told that he could be arrested. “It became clear to me early on in the questioning that (the interviewer’s) main interest was to find fault with the measurements, not to find those behind the monitoring”, Slettsjøe told Aftenposten[22].

Act III: Confusion, contradiction, frustration

Two months later, Justice Minister Anundsen wrote a letter to the Parliament’s Justice Committee in which he retracted his former statement. Indeed, when the Committee asked if he could guarantee that the IMSI catchers uncovered by Aftenposten were not Norwegian, Anundsen said he could no longer provide such a guarantee and declared that Norwegian authorities are allowed to use this type of equipment by law[23]. Simultaneously, he argued that Aftenposten’s measurements could be due to ordinary base stations whose signals had been increased for a period of time.

It was also in March that Gordon McKay,[24] head of British security company Delma (enlisted by Aftenposten to help investigate the case, and which has notably worked for the UN Special Tribunal in Lebanon in charge of investigating the assassination of Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri[25]) told Aftenposten that his company’s findings in Oslo were “extremely disturbing”. McKay refuted Anundsen’s claim that these discoveries could be explained by “revised signal strength” on legal base stations.

per anders johansen andreas bakke foss fredrik hager thoresen aftenposten

Per Anders Johansen, Andreas Bakke Foss and Fredrik Hager Thoresen receive the 2014 Skup prize for their work on mobile surveillance. Image via medier24.com

On 9 March, Per Anders Johansen and Andreas Bakke Foss published an article[26] entitled “Norwegian police are conducting mobile surveillance in violation of the law”. In this article, Johansen and Bakke Foss contended that PST and the police had both deliberately neglected to notify the authority of their use of the uncovered IMSI catchers. In the eyes of Parliament, this legal requirement acts as a guarantee counterbalancing the extension of the police’s right to monitor cell phone activity in Norway. This notification requirement is all the more important than IMSI catchers are becoming more affordable, and thus available to individuals who have no legal right to use them.

The journalists also cited a letter by Benedicte Bjørnland (head of PST), dated 26 November, stating she believed this duty of notification to contradict legal provisions related to confidentiality, and that PST’s use of IMSI catchers “mainly happen(ed) in such a way that it should not cause network disturbances”. Aftenposten argued that prior to Christmas 2014, neither PST nor the police had ever complied with this notification duty. Aftenposten went on to cite a letter by Justice Minister Anundsen himself to the Parliament’s Justice Committee, admitting that the police and PST had not notified the authorities when they used false base stations. Anundsen also invoked confidentiality issues, disregarding the fact that Parliament had obviously extensively considered this issue before creating this legal duty to notify. Thus, Aftenposten argued, PST had deliberately violated Norwegian law.

Act IV: Denial… and a crusade to discredit Aftenposten

PST norwegian police IMSI catcher press conference

Arnstein Jørgensen, head of the investigation (left), Benedicte Bjørnland, Chief of PST (middle), and police attorney Signe Alling (right) during the press conference of 26 March 2015. Source: Kampanje.com

On 26 March 2015, Benedicte Bjørnland (head of PST), Signe Alling (PST police attorney) and Arnstein Jørgensen (head of the investigation) sat down before members of the press gathered in the Radisson Hotel in Nydalen, Oslo, and presented the conclusions of PST’s investigations.

In the hour that followed, PST dismissed Aftenposten’s conclusions[27], claiming there were no indications of the use of IMSI catchers in the material published by Aftenposten and in the measurements carried out by the paper in collaboration with its foreign experts. PST made thinly veiled accusations of incompetence and technical ignorance against the newspaper, noting that much of the information provided to the public regarding this case had been “erroneous”.

According to Bjørnland, NSM, the same NSM that had initially stated “we did register signals from IMSI-catchers in the centre of town”, now agreed[28] with PST’s conclusion regarding the complete absence of IMSI catchers in Oslo and Aftenposten’s misinterpretation of the data.

The most important element to remember from PST’s press conference and subsequent report is that PST claims its factual findings (data) were identical to those made by Aftenposten, but disputes the explanations invoked by the paper, and argues that this data could instead be explained by natural causes:

“Both PST, Intelligence Services and NSM arrive, through their own measurements, to findings which correspond with the findings of Aftenposten’s data, but the findings may be explained by natural causes.”[29]

Interestingly, although PST’s data matched Aftenposten’s, PST went to great lengths to discredit the technical and scientific methods of data collection employed by Aftenposten. Among the shortcomings pinpointed by PST[30] were the fact that Aftenposten’s measurements were conducted over short periods of time, and while in motion, and the paper’s inability to access “essential but non-public information from service providers on how mobile networks function”. This helped PST assert that Aftenposten lacked knowledge of the “normal picture” of Oslo’s networks (knowledge of base station locations, parameters, frequencies, coverage areas, …).

Furthermore, and, once again, although PST’s data was allegedly the same as Aftenposten’s, Bjørnland still felt obligated to deny that the activities of PST and the Oslo Police “had any influence on the data on which Aftenposten based its conclusions, data which, according to PST, is reflective of a normal network situation, and the product of “natural causes”.

What’s also interesting is that PST acknowledged using IMSI catchers approximately 30 times in Oslo in the past few years after having obtained legal authorization to do so.

PST also rejected Aftenposten’s claim that the presence of two cells with identical cell ID in the same area is evidence of the presence of an IMSI catcher. This had happened inter alia near the Parliament and the Ministry of Defense, but Bjørnland said that both Vodafone and Telenor have cells with this specific ID in the area, each in their separate network. PST notes that “in both cases, this is part of the normal picture (…) There is nothing suspicious about this.” PST also dismissed the signals picked up near the Royal Castle and on Aker Brygge, on the grounds that the measurements had been made in a moving car.

Finally, PST denied there had been any change in signals after the publication of the article[31]. This would mean (but correct me if I am wrong, being a luddite in those matters) that though PST and Aftenposten found the same original data, the data changed for Aftenposten in late December, but remained the same for PST. Which begs the question: how did both parties arrive to such different results (remember, Aftenposten found only two remaining stations while there had originally been close to 100 occurrences of “suspicious activity” – one would imagine this would amount to a major change in the data)?

At the end of its press conference, and in what one might construe as either politeness or scathing irony, PST lauded Aftenposten’s work, saying they were “pleased with the awareness Aftenposten’s articles have helped raise”.

Reactions to PST’s statement were immediate: in the hours following the press conference, Professor Josef Noll of the University of Oslo told NRK that[32]:

What PST today presented about Aftenposten revelations about false base stations in Oslo, I look at as complete obfuscation of the case (…) I feel that this is a diversion, they will not get to the bottom of this. I think there is a high probability that it really was false base stations Aftenposten found. The companies Aftenposten have used are in my opinion very credible (…) I do not think we’ll know the truth about this.

Act V: An unresolved political whodunnit

legal base station norway oslo parliament

A legal base station, with the Parliament in the background. Image via NRK.no

Since March 26 and as of today, Aftenposten has maintained its original claims, as have its sources. PST’s response did not come as a surprise for the paper, which expected its findings to be rejected[33], only noting that PST had brazenly reached these conclusions without even bothering to test the equipment used by Aftenposten. Editor-in-Chief Espen Egil Hansen commented that, if they were ever found to be wrong, PST’s head would be on the block.

As of today, PST has not released its own data to the public, something which it could easily do, as the data allegedly reveals no anomalies, and in the interest of transparency regarding such a crucial matter. Aftenposten, on the other hand, opted from the very beginning to publicly share the entirety of the data produced and collected in the course of its investigation.

If one sides with Aftenposten’s findings, and believes that there indeed were IMSI catchers in Oslo, one question remains: cui bono – to whose benefit? Many have the technical capacity and motivations to undertake surveillance of Norwegian governmental and political activity. The suspects are numerous: foreign States, private corporations, or, as the paper has alleged, the Norwegian authorities themselves.

For instance, as far as foreign States are concerned, PST itself relates the following[34]:

A number of states must be assumed to carry out intelligence activity in Norway. The two states with which Norway has no security policy co-operation, and which at the same time represent the greatest intelligence-gathering capacity, are Russia and China. Of these, we assess Russian intelligence as having a greater potential to inflict harm on Norwegian interests. (…) Russian intelligence services are looking for information on Norwegian defence, security and civil protection. Norway is a member of NATO and makes up NATO’s border with Russia in the north of the Kola Peninsula. It is a region of military strategic importance to Russia. Russian intelligence is seeking information on Norway’s and NATO’s military capacity, activity and strategies. (…) The intelligence services of foreign states are attempting to influence and undermine Norwegian political processes in matters in which Norway and the foreign state disagree. They are paying particular attention to staff in selected government ministries, staff at Norwegian foreign missions, Norwegian delegations abroad, politicians and staff at the Storting (Norwegian Parliament), researchers as well as consultancies in this work.”

But while IMSI catchers are mostly used by law enforcement agencies, a decrease in their retail price has led security experts to estimate that criminals may also now be using them, including, for instance, in order to spy on the police themselves. PopSci stresses out that “for governments or other entities able to afford a price tag of “less than $100,000, high-quality interceptors are quite realistic[35]. This only makes it harder to theorize on the culprits’ identity.

Meanwhile, several media outlets have reported instances of similar cases, claimed to have occurred in Stockholm and Helsinki. For instance, France 24 mentions IMSI catchers found in Scandinavian capitals, notably in the vicinity of Russian embassies[36]. In an article dated 13 January 2015, Sputnik News, a Russian online news platform, called it a “triple scandal in Norway, Sweden and Finland[37], focusing on Aftenposten’s findings in Oslo, but also claiming that Finnish and Swedish journalists had followed Aftenposten’s lead and come to find identical results, with IMSI catchers in use in “governmental neighborhoods” in Helsinki and Stockholm. Sputnik goes on to claim that “experts” believe this to be a case of State, rather than police-led, espionage, due to the strength of the signal and the location of the false base stations.

Though conspiracy theories and unfounded personal opinions abound, what we are left with are two contradictory assertions, one emanating from the most prestigious, serious newspaper in Norway at the height of months of thorough investigation, and the other coming from none other than the Police Security Service itself. What is at stake is the key to a potential political espionage scandal in one of Europe’s most advanced, transparent and exemplary democracies.

All we can say for now is that, just like Schrödinger’s infamous pet, the IMSI catchers both were and were not there. And while you, dear reader, may never know where the truth lies, someone out there surely does.

This article regards sensitive, hypothetical events in a case which can be considered as still ongoing. Much of the research for this article was conducted by reading Norwegian material (press articles, technical reports, …) available online. If you have an opinion on the matter, please feel free to voice it in the comments below. Additionally, please contact us at nott.the.mag@gmail.com or contact Marie at marie.baleo@gmail.com if you would like information regarding our sources and references.

Notes: [1] Many of the following explanations result from my reading and understanding of a highly informative methodology report authored by several Aftenposten journalists who worked on the case, and submitted to “Stiftelsen for en Kritisk of Undersøkende Presse” (SKUP), a foundation dedicated to promoting investigative journalism in Norway. Read the report in full (in Norwegian) here: http://2014.metoderapporter.skup.no/34%20-%20Mobilovervåkningen.pdf [2] The Washington Post reports such devices may be found all around Washington DC’s main institutions, as claimed by the inventors of the Crypto Phone: “The GSMK CryptoPhone (is claimed to have) detected signs of as many as 18 IMSI catchers in less than two days of driving through (Washington DC area). A map of these locations (…) looks like a primer on the geography of Washington power, with the surveillance devices reportedly near the White House, the Capitol, foreign embassies and the cluster of federal contractors near Dulles International Airport.” Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/researchers-try-to-pull-back-curtain-on-surveillance-efforts-in-washington/2014/09/17/f8c1f590-3e81-11e4-b03f-de718edeb92f_story.html [3]Every mobile phone has the requirement to optimize the reception. If there is more than one base station of the subscribed network operator accessible, it will always choose the one with the strongest signal. An IMSI-catcher masquerades as a base station and causes every mobile phone of the simulated network operator within a defined radius to log in” (Wikipedia; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMSI-catcher) [4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man-in-the-middle_attack [5] http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/researchers-try-to-pull-back-curtain-on-surveillance-efforts-in-washington/2014/09/17/f8c1f590-3e81-11e4-b03f-de718edeb92f_story.html [6] On a side note, over these pivotal months of enquiry, Aftenposten deployed considerable efforts to safeguard and protect its investigation and staff. It encrypted documents, databases and emails to its sources, favored USB sticks over email and face-to-face interactions over phone calls, avoided the use of open software (Google Docs). Journalists routinely locked their phones in cupboards before entering meeting rooms. [7] Among the oddities noted by Johansen, extra strong activity was measured during and around the Oslo Freedom Forum, which took place in October 2014 in the presence of many prominent human rights activists from around the world. Similarly, the perplexing observation was made that most signals usually vanished in the evening and were strongest on Thursdays and Fridays. Additionally, it was observed that the false base station located in Aker Brygge, the city’s harbor filled with cafes, restaurants and headquarters overlooking the Oslofjord, operated in shorter sequences in order to render detection more difficult. [8] Source: http://english.pravda.ru/news/world/06-01-2015/129455-russian_embassy_norway-0/ [9] http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/iriks/Flere-ulike-aktorer-sto-trolig-bak-mobilspionasjen-7849829.html [10] http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/iriks/Secret-surveillance-of-Norways-leaders-detected-7825278.html [11] http://kampanje.com/medier/2015/03/pst-avviser-aftenpostens-overvakingsavsloring/ [12] Source: “The Foreigner” article published on 15 December 2014 and updated on 8 January 2014. [13] http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/iriks/Secret-surveillance-of-Norways-leaders-detected-7825278.html [14] http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/iriks/Secret-surveillance-of-Norways-leaders-detected-7825278.html [15] http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/iriks/Secret-surveillance-of-Norways-leaders-detected-7825278.html Similarly, three weeks after publication, the Justice Ministry openly told the Parliament that PST had undertaken technical studies over longer time periods, on several occasions during the past few years, both in Oslo and elsewhere in the country, in order to find out whether false base stations were in use and that these investigations had come up empty-handed. [16] Freely translated from http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/iriks/–Vi-ma-gjore-det-som-er-mulig-for-a-finne-ut-hvem-eller-hva-som-star-bak-7825251.html [17] http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/iriks/Secret-surveillance-of-Norways-leaders-detected-7825278.html [18] Resting upon the existence of a subpoena and a concrete suspicion of a criminal offense. [19] http://www.abcnyheter.no/nyheter/2014/12/14/213914/tajik-vender-tommelen-ned-utvidet-rett-til-overvaking [20] http://2014.metoderapporter.skup.no/34%20-%20Mobilovervåkningen.pdf [21] http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/iriks/Kan-ikke-garantere-at-falske-basestasjoner-ikke-var-norsk-utstyr-7928044.html [22] Ibid. [23] Ibid. [24] “Våre funn i Oslo var veldig klare” (“Our findings in Oslo were very clear”) http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/iriks/Mobilspionasje—Vare-funn-i-Oslo-var-veldig-klare-7928067.html [25] Rafiq Hariri was murdered on 14 February 2005 in Beirut (I was there, and Valentine’s Day hasn’t been the same since!), by way of a one-ton bomb which claimed 22 lives and had tremendous political repercussions. Aftenposten has stressed that it resorted to the same experts as those called upon by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, whose investigation into the 2004 bombing is still ongoing. These experts’ findings, regarding inter alia large-scale cell phone surveillance and the use of false base stations, were a pivotal element in the trial. [26] http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/iriks/Norsk-politi-driver-mobilovervaking-i-strid-med-loven-7928223.html [27] http://www.newsinenglish.no/2015/03/27/pst-rejects-mobile-surveillance-report/ ; read full statement published on PST website, in Norwegian, here: http://www.pst.no/media/utgivelser/statusoppdatering-i-etterforskningssaken-om-mulige-falske-basestasjoner/ [28]Både NSM og E-tjenesten er enige med PST i våre konklusjoner.” – PST full statement. [29] Freely translated from PST full statement. [30] PST wasn’t the only voice raised to criticize Aftenposten’s methods. Journalisten.no quotes Norwegian editor in chief of Danish digital publisher Egmont Jan Thoresen as saying: “First, Aftenposten started a series of articles about unidentified cellular signals in Oslo. Then they called out these mobile signals as espionage. Then they criticized the authorities for not having sufficiently spied on these unidentified signals. Then, politicians say they must have more rights to spy. Then Aftenposten replies that no, they simply must not. (…) But we still do not know if this is a false negative measure impact and we certainly do not know if this is espionage, as Aftenposten claims. Maybe we need a new word. We have UFO. This is UMO, unidentified cellular signals. Do you believe in UMO?[31] “Etterforskningen viser at det ikke har vært noen endringer i signalbildet etter publisering av Aftenpostens artikler” – PST full statement. [32] http://www.nrk.no/norge/–pst-takelegger–mobilovervaknings-avsloringer-1.12283056 [33]http://www.dn.no/nyheter/politikkSamfunn/2015/03/26/1835/Overvking/-dersom-det-skulle-vise-seg-at-de-tar-feil-s-vil-de-f-et-stort-forklaringsproblem [34] Source: PST’s Annual Threat Assessment of 2015. Read the full assessment in English here: http://www.pst.no/media/75477/NTV_2015_engelsk.pdf [35] http://www.popsci.com/article/technology/mysterious-phony-cell-towers-could-be-intercepting-your-calls [36] http://www.france24.com/fr/20150317-loi-renseignement-france-cyberespionnage-ecoute-keylogger-internet-imsi-catcher-terrorisme-charlie-hebdo-figaro/ [37] http://fr.sputniknews.com/presse/20150113/203409035.html

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One thought on “A Norwegian Watergate?

  1. Pingback: ‪#‎IMSIcatchers‬ | Oslo under surveillance | hacktivist culture

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