According to defense commission chairman Olav Lysne, the surveillance will be performed automatically. The monitoring is expected to include all information ordinary Norwegians have on their mobile phones and store on overseas data clouds. Additionally, it may even include contacts via social media, since most of the communication is performed via servers abroad. Both unencrypted and encrypted data can be intercepted. So far, the Norwegian Intelligence Service has no plans to collect information about Norwegians living in Norway, which are expected to be spared the surveillance.
The so-called "digital border defense," which has been criticized by human rights activists as a privacy encroachment, is justified by defense authorities by the risk of cyber-attacks and terrorism. According to Aftenposten, Norwegian traffic is at present being monitored by Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States and, possibly, even Denmark.
"Today, the Norwegian Intelligence Service has only a limited ability to intercept overseas communications across the Norwegian border, which may pose serious security challenges for the country," the commission's report stated, highlighting the fact that Norwegian opportunities to expose digital espionage against the country's public and private enterprises are very limited.
In 2008, a similarly controversial surveillance law was passed in Sweden, as the country's defense was given the right to monitor both incoming and outgoing traffic via internet and telephone, despite heated protests from Swedish human rights activists. As of today, both the content and the overseas sender/addressee may be scrutinized by the National Defense Radio Establishment.