Article 17

Article 17

165. Interference with privacy, family affairs, the home or correspondence is not allowed unless so provided by law, and such interference is generally penalised. The following update may be given:

The Personal Data Act

166. The Personal Data Act of 14 April 2000 No 31 entered into force on 1 January 2001, replacing the 1978 Act relating to Personal Data Filing Systems. The Act implemented Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council. The Norwegian legislation is thus harmonised with common European rules in this area, and the new Act establishes a greater degree of protection of the privacy and integrity of individuals than the previous one.

167. Section 1 states the purpose of the Act, and reads as follows:

“The purpose of this Act is to protect natural persons from violation of their right to privacy through the processing of personal data.


“The Act shall help to ensure that personal data are processed in accordance with fundamental respect for the right to privacy, including the need to protect personal integrity and private life and ensure that personal data are of adequate quality.”

168. To achieve this purpose, the Act provides detailed rules governing the processing of personal data. An English translation of the Act is attached at Appendix 11.

The right to privacy and correspondence in prisons

169. Prisoners may as a general rule send and receive mail, receive visits and use the telephone (see sections 30, 31 and 32 of the Execution of Sentences Act). However, control shall be carried out in blocks and prisons with an especially high security level. In prisons with a lower level of security or in halfway houses, control shall only be carried out if it is deemed necessary for security reasons.

170. The use of cellular phones is prohibited in Norwegian prisons, except in halfway houses. Prisoners may use computer equipment for work, instruction or other measures on certain conditions. In prisons with a high security level the use of a private computer may only be permitted in special training situations where an extraordinary need for such use is documented.

171. Pursuant to section 29 of the Execution of Sentences Act, inspections may be carried out in order to expose the use of intoxicants, etc. Section 29 reads:

“The Correctional Services may order convicted persons who are serving sentences pursuant to section 10 first paragraph items a, b, c and d, to provide urine samples, and breath or blood specimens, or to co-operate in other forms of inspection which may be carried out without risk or particular discomfort, in order to expose the use of intoxicants, anaesthetics, hormone preparations or other chemical substances that are not lawfully prescribed. Blood specimens may only be taken by health-service personnel.
If it is probable that a convicted person is concealing in his or her body intoxicants, anaesthetics, hormone preparations or other chemical substances that are not lawfully prescribed, the Correctional Services may decide that the convicted person shall be placed in a secluded room equipped with a special lavatory. A medical opinion shall be obtained and taken into account in considering whether this measure shall be implemented. While so placed the convicted person shall be subject to constant supervision by health-service personnel.
If it is highly probable that a prisoner is concealing in his or her body intoxicants, anaesthetics, hormone preparations or other chemical substances that are not lawfully prescribed, the Correctional Services may decide that a bodily search or other measure may be carried out in order to bring the substance to light. A medical opinion shall be obtained and taken into account in considering whether this measure shall be implemented. Only health-service personnel may carry out the intervention. Consent shall be obtained from the regional level beforehand if this is practically possible.”

172. The guidelines state that prison officers who are involved in the inspection should be of same sex as the prisoner.

Access to the files and registers of the Police Security Services

173. One result of the findings of the Lund Commission regarding unlawful use of telephone monitoring and other surveillance (see paragraphs 187 to 198 of Norway’s fourth report) was the adoption of the Temporary Act of 17 September 1999 No 73 regarding Limited Access to the Files and Registers of the Police Security Services. The Act establishes a person’s right, with some exceptions, to access to information about him/herself contained in the files of the police security service from 8 May 1945 to 8 May 1996. Access to information obtained after 25 November 1977 may only be granted if the information was collected or used without sufficient legal authorisation. A person who has been given access to his or her file is entitled to compensation limited upwards to NOK 100 000 if the person has suffered serious harm caused by the unauthorised collection or use of information.

174. By 22 September 2004, 12 791 applications for access to files had been made. 5 496 of these had been dealt with, and access had been given in 1 988 cases. In 2 874 of the cases, there was no file. There had been 501 applications for compensation. Of these, 377 had been dealt with, and 189 applicants had been given compensation.

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