Anyone who feels he or she has been subjected to unjust treatment by any of the EOS services may lodge a complaint with the EOS Committee. The Committee will investigate all complaints that fall under its area of oversight.
It is important that the background and details of the complaint are as specific and comprehensive as possible. Your full name, Norwegian national identity number, postal address and residential address registered in the National Registry must be included. The information is treated confidentially and is subject to absolute confidentiality.
A written statement describing your complaint is enough for the Committee to start an investigation. No sensitive or confidential information should be sent by e-mail. Information about how the Committee can be contacted by telephone, e-mail and letter is available here.
Whenever the Committee receives a complaint, the complainant receives a preliminary response, normally within three weeks. The complainant is told if the complaint is accepted or if it is rejected, e.g. because the complaint does not fall within the Committee’s area of oversight.
Complaints are investigated in the service(s) towards which they are directed. Investigations are carried out partly in writing and partly by searching archives and registers.
Complaints lodged with the Committee are dealt with in a confidential manner, but the service concerned is notified when a complaint is investigated. The Committee is not authorized to order the services to take specific action on a matter, but the Committee may express its opinion and make recommendations to the services, such as recommending that the matter be reconsidered. If the investigation of a complaint reveals grounds for criticism, this is indicated in a written statement to the service concerned. In such cases, the Committee may also ask the service in question to remedy the situation.
Statements made to complainants shall be as comprehensive as possible without releasing classified information. One should be aware that the Committee's regulatory framework concerning complaints against PST and the NIS, as a rule, only allows the Committee to state whether or not the complaint revealed grounds for criticism. Information about whether or not a person has been subject to surveillance activities is regarded as classified information.
The Committee is thus not permitted to inform a complainant whether or not he/she has been subject to registration or surveillance. However, in cases where there are grounds for criticism, the Committee may recommend that the service in question or the responsible ministry declassify the information, so that a more comprehensive statement can be made.
In its 2018 annual report, the EOS Committee stated that regulation of whistle-blowers’ protection in the Act - with regard to oversight of intelligence, surveillance and security services, and possibly in the regulatory framework for the EOS services - should be considered.
Whistle-blowers may tell the Committee anything it should be aware of it it falls within the remit of the Committee.
- to ascertain whether the rights of any person are violated and to prevent such violations, and to ensure that the means of intervention employed do not exceed those required under the circumstances, and that the services respect human rights.
- to ensure that the activities do not unduly harm the interests of society.
- to ensure that the activities are kept within the framework of statute law, administrative or military directives and non-statutory law.
Whistle-blowers may contact the Committee about issues such as illegal surveillance, illegal practices and lack of compliance with regulations in an EOS service.
A manager that harasses an employee in a service or an employee that commits embezzlement, are examples of what does not fall under the remit of the EOS Committee.
If whistle-blowers wants to maintain their anonymity, the Committee does everything in its power to protect the identity of the whistler-blower. When a whistler-blower gives provides information, the Committee decides if and how the information maye be used without the whistler-blower’s identity being disclosed. The Committee can investigate cases on its own initiative without having to give the services grounds for its investigations.
Even though there is a guarantee not to disclose a whistler-blower’s identity, there might be a risk that a whistler-blower could be identified by the services as the source of the information, if the Committee initiates an investigation.
Information about how the Committee can be contacted by telephone, e-mail and letter is available here
Whistle-blowing vs. complaints
You may alert the EOS Committee of any matter that you think is relevant for the Committee, even though the matter does not concern you directly.
To lodge a complaint, you must act on behalf of yourself or your business/organization. Complaints are also accepted with authorization, e.g. from a lawyer.
A complainant has the right to receive a final letter when an investigation is finished. The letter informs the complainant if the investigation has or has not resulted in criticism of the service(s) about which the complaint was filed.
A whistle-blower does not, on the other hand, have a right to receive any more information about what an investigation has led to, except from what is disclosed in the EOS Committees public reports to the Storting.