The Committee's oversight of the services is primarily legally oriented, with a particular emphasis on matters that concern the protection of civil liberties and due process of law for private individuals.
A central aspect of the Committee's oversight activities is thus to ensure that the services keep their activities within the particular legislative framework to which they are subject, as well as general provisions, particularly those contained in laws and regulations.
Below is a brief outline of the regulatory framework that applies to the activities of the EOS Committee, as well as the activities of the EOS services. More information on the EOS services can be found here.
The EOS Committee
The activities of the EOS Committee are subject to the Act relating to the Oversight of Intelligence, Surveillance, and Security Services of 3 February 1995 no. 7, also called the Act relating to the Oversight of Secret Services. (Read the English version of the law from page 81 to page 84 in this annual report.)
The National Intelligence Service (NIS)
The Service is subject to the Act relating to the Norwegian Intelligence Service of 20 March 1998 no. 11, often called the Intelligence Service Act, and the provisions of this act regulate the service's organisation and responsibilities. The act is supplemented by the Instructions for the Norwegian Intelligence Service of 31 August 2001 no. 1012, often called the Intelligence Service Instructions.
The Norwegian Police Security Service (PST)
The Act relating to the Police of 4 August 1995 no. 53, the Police Act, also applies to PST. The act's Chapter III A (Sections 17a through 17f) contains provisions relating to the service's organisation, tasks, and use of coercive measures for preventive purposes, i.e. methods such as wiretapping or room tapping, outside the scope of an investigation. In Norway, PST is the only service authorised to use such coercive measures for preventive purposes.
The Act relating to Legal Procedure in Criminal Cases of 22 May 1981 no. 25, the Criminal Procedure Act, is applicable to PST investigations of criminal cases within the scope of the service, including so-called pre-emptive investigations. Most relevant for the Committee's oversight are the provisions in the Act's fourth section on coercive measures, which contain rules for and describe the use of various investigative methods.
A more specific and detailed legal framework for PST activities is contained in the Regulations concerning the Norwegian Police Security Service of 19 August 2005 no. 920, also called the PST Regulations, issued by the Ministry of Justice.
The Act relating to the processing of personal data by the police and the prosecuting authority and the related regulations in Politiregisterforskriften is also regulating PST's activities.
The Regulations concerning the Administration of the Prosecuting Authority of 28 June 1985 no. 1679, the Prosecuting Regulations, are relevant for PST's activities as well.
The National Security Authority (NSM)
The Act relating to National Security (The Security Act) of 1 June 1995 no. 53
Regulations regarding security clearance of 20 December 2019 no. 2054
Legislation that applies to all services
The Instructions for the Collaboration between the National Intelligence Service and the Norwegian Police Security Service of 13 October 2006 no. 1151 specifically aim to promote collaboration between the two services in the efforts to counter current threats and security challenges, as well as to ensure overall coordination between the two services. In addition, the instructions also aim to clarify areas of responsibility and procedures between the services. The instructions, inter alia, list prioritized areas of collaboration, guidelines for assistance on specific matters, and recommendations for flows of information between the two services. These collaborative instructions are, together with the respective legal bases for the two services, essential in the Committee's oversight of the legality of the collaboration between them.
Other relevant legislation
The provisions of, inter alia, the following legislation is also of significance for the oversight activities of the EOS Committee:
- Act relating to the Processing of Personal Data of 15 June 2018 (Personal Data Act)
- Act relating to the Strengthening of the Status of Human Rights in Norwegian Law of 21 May 1999 no 30 (Human Rights Act), with appurtenant conventions
- Act relating to Procedure in Cases Concerning the Public Administration of 10 February 1967 (Public Administration Act)
- Act relating to the Right of Access to Documents Held by Public Authorities and Public undertakings of 19 May 2006 no. 16 (Freedom of Information Act)