Your Right to Privacy Is Getting Taken Away

Is this the start of a more authoritarian government? It seems that the right to privacy is set to no longer be a right, but instead, a government property.

And Norway just started it: they’ve given the government full authority to record all their supermarket purchases.

In an attempt to demonstrate a new, and very messed up, era of state data acquisition, the Norwegian Bureau of Statistics wants to receive millions of receipts each day from food stores. Privacy advocates and the supermarket itself are unhappy.

It’s important to note that the Scandinavian country is among the world leaders in digital ID.

Here’s what the Swedish journalist Peter Imanuelsen wrote about the Norwegian government wanting even more control of its citizens.

“The State Statistics Central bureau (SSB) in Norway is now demanding to know the food purchases of citizens and track all card payments.” 

“They were central in establishing a “folk register” in Norway after the second world war, which led to people getting a unique ID number called “birth number”. This bureau already knows where people live and how much income they have, but now they also want to track exactly everything that you buy in the grocery store. They want to know every single food item that you buy.”

Imanuelsen writes in The Freedom Corner with PeterSweden:

This latest move is actually going pretty far in going towards a control society. We are now going full steam ahead. They have required almost all of the large grocery store chains in Norway to share their receipt data with the state.

They have also required a card terminal company called Nets to share detailed information with the state on all transactions. Some 80% of card payments done in grocery stores in Norway is done via this company.

“A connection with payment transactions done with debit card and grocery store receipts enables SSB [the state statistics bureau] to connect payment transactions and receipts in over 70% of daily grocery shopping” the state run bureau said in a statement on its website.

So imagine that! Norway is going to connect payment details done with card payments and grocery store receipts to figure out exactly what kind of food people are buying, and who is buying it. In other words, Norway will track exactly what kind of food citizens are buying. We are talking about a new level of state control here.

The state will know what you had for breakfast, lunch, dinner, everything. Cola, ham, chicken, steak, you name it. The state will see it all.

The state is going to track all of Norway’s payments. We are talking about enormous amounts of data here. The state statistics bureau will be collecting 2.4 million receipts EVERY day and some 1.6 billion card transactions every year. Oh, and get this. This data will not be deleted once it is collected according to NRK.

What kind of payment data are we talking about here? Well, let’s have a look.

  • Transaction date.
  • Transaction type status.
  • Card service.
  • Organization number of the company where the card was used.
  • Name of the company where the card was used.
  • Name of card user, bank account number.
  • Amount payed for items.
  • Total amount payed.

This data will then be combined with receipts from the store and used to figure out exactly what people bought. This is frightening!

NRK offered a report on exactly how much data the Norwegian government wants to collect from its citizens:

– How detailed maps of our lives does the state apparatus really need to make good decisions? asks research fellow Lisa Reutter at NTNU.

Reutter is researching how the public sector is being digitized and is using more and more data.

– When we increase the public administration’s ability to classify, predict and control citizens’ behavior using large amounts of digital data, the balance of power between citizen and state is shifted, Reutter says.

She believes that the shift in power is not necessarily a problem, but that “it happens without us as citizens really being aware of it”.

Statistics Norway has a long history that drives us to better understand what Norwegians do and how we feel. After World War II, Statistics Sweden was central in establishing the National Population Register, which led to everyone being given a unique social security number.

Sources: WLT, NRK, Substack


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