Norway to review criminal cases with Danish telecom data

International

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Norway’s top prosecutor on Thursday asked police and prosecutors across the country to identify all criminal cases where telecommunications data have been obtained from Denmark, amid concerns about the data being used as evidence.

In Denmark, flaws in systems that convert phone companies’ raw data into evidence used to place a person at a crime scene and inaccurate cellphone tracking data have led to dozens of court cases being postponed.

Norway’s acting Director of Public Prosecutions Harald Strand said “there is no information” about a similar problem in Norwegian police systems.

However, as a precaution Strand has tasked Norway’s National Criminal Investigation Service with finding out whether “there may be a corresponding error in systems” used by Norwegians.

His decision came after Danish authorities’ temporarily halted use of cellphone data in criminal cases and ordered the review of some 10,000 verdicts because of errors in tracking data.

Strand said Denmark’s National Police had been ordered to review criminal cases dating from 2012 until March 3 this year when the flaw was discovered.

In Denmark, telecom data are often used in combination with other evidence. There are no statistics available on how many verdicts are reached using only telecom data. At least 29 suspects have so far been released from pretrial detention since the flaw was made public.

“The trust in our legal system has been shaken,” Justice Minister Nick Haekkerup said Aug. 19 as he announced that Denmark’s top prosecutor had “pulled the handbrake, so that telecommunications information no longer is used in court as evidence.”

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