A “top secret” room was built in the Oslo court

A “top secret” room was built in the Oslo court

A wiretap-proof courtroom has now been built to process confidential information at the top-secret level in the Oslo court.

In the chamber, judges and case managers must decide cases containing classified information from the intelligence service, police and PST.


Using and operating the private room requires greater physical and digital security and increased staff security, says Yngvi Brooks, head of communications at the court administration. Photo: Court administration

The private room will be staffed by people who specialize in matters relating to the private room, where work requires security clearance and authorization.

The room will be used by the Oslo District Court and the Borgarting Court of Appeal. The Court Administration, which is the project manager for the establishment of the Chamber, estimated the need for 2 years of work as a judge and 1 year of judicial work for the Oslo District Court, in addition to 2 years of work as a judge and 0.3 years of judicial work for the Oslo District Court. Court of Appeal in Borgarting.

The venue is smaller than a regular courtroom in a local court, as only the parties to the case will participate in the court hearings, says Yngvi Brooks, communications manager at the court administration.

In general, a steady flow of cases from the armed forces (including the e-service) and from the police/PST is expected, according to Brooks.

Court control

The special chamber will meet the need to handle cases with a degree of complete confidentiality, after the new intelligence services law stipulates court monitoring of the so-called organized group of electronic communications entering and leaving Norway.

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Digi has stated on several occasions that the electronic service will begin collecting metadata and content data from electronic communications across national borders so that it can perform targeted searches into this data.

This method, called facilitated aggregation, means that e-commerce suppliers that transfer data in and out of the country must reflect that information to the electronic service when required to do so.

The system is based on the new Intelligence Services Act (also called the Cyber ​​Act, see fact box). In March of this year The Ministry of Defense proposed the changes Which enhances judicial oversight in the system. It is planned that the Oslo District Court will rule on E-tjenesten's requests to search stored metadata, “targeted acquisition” and store content data.

Intelligence Service Law

  • The new Intelligence Services Act entered into force on 1 January 2021. It will pave the way for strengthening Norway's independent intelligence capacity and enabling the electronic service to follow technological developments.
  • A disputed provision remains under political consideration and must be adopted before the facilitated collection system can be put into operation.
  • The provision, §7-3, concerns who has the decision-making authority to order the economic services provider to facilitate. The original text of the law stated that this body would be the head of the electronic service.
  • In March this year, the Ministry of Defense proposed that there should be judicial oversight of several stages of regulated collection following several rulings by the European Court of Human Rights and the European Union which stated that prior approval must be carried out by an independent body. In addition, judicial review is proposed in cases relating to the protection of journalistic sources, and other minor changes in the law.
  • Many critics, including the Tekna union, believe that the organized collection system leads to mass surveillance of the population, as the traffic collected by the service would have a large element in the communication of the Norwegian people with foreign countries.

Sources: Government, Norwegian Intelligence Service, Digi.

Security measures

Using and operating a private room requires greater physical and digital security and increased employee security, according to Brooks.

He says in an email to Digi that comprehensive physical and logical security measures are required depending on the classification of the information to be processed – and whether both speech and authentication can be used in court hearings.

These measures are resource-intensive as this type of security costs money, but also in the form of stringent requirements imposed on those who will be building and processing information during the construction process, Brooks wrote.

For security reasons, he cannot describe the concrete security measures in more detail, but states that they have been implemented according to the principles contained in the Forsvarsbygg Security Manual and are managed in accordance with the laws and regulations that apply to this type of building. For example, the Security Act, regulations regarding the work of companies with protective security, various guidelines from the National Security Service (NSM) for processing classified information and securing rooms for processing classified information.

Statsbygg was responsible for the design and construction of the private room.



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NOK 9.1 million was previously allocated for the construction project. After it was proposed that the court conduct more extensive checks under the new cyber law and deal with cases classified as “strictly confidential”, the total cost is now estimated at NOK 26.3 million.

It was proposed to allocate funds in Revised national budgetwhich was introduced last week, will cover establishment costs as well as the need to increase judicial resources and capacity to process cases.

– The planning and construction of the courtroom, which will handle security-classified cases, had to take into account the need to obtain security clearance for the persons involved, among other things, from suppliers and special procedures for acquisitions, meetings and processing of orders. Documents related to facility construction. This proved too costly for the project, Brooks explained REIT24 website In March of this year.



Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

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